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If You Want Your Child to Read, Read!!

Girl read bookLast week, I explained the first rule of what to do if your child’s teacher is concerned about his or her progress as a reader: DON’T PANIC!! By that I mean, concentrate on creating a love of reading rather than on worksheets, tutors, or other programs that dwell on isolated skills rather than on the natural lure of stories. If your children watch TV or play video games that have a plot line, they do love stories. Help them see books in the same light.

That’s where Rule 2 comes in. MODEL reading as a great wait-time past-time. Waiting to pick up your child? Always have a book in the car. Remark how the time just flew because you were lost in the story. DON’T read reports for work. You’re trying to model that reading is part of life, not just for work and school! Stop chatting on the cell phone and use the Kindle app instead. At the doctor? Forget distracting your child with the handheld video game and make your way through a read-aloud. Or, dive into your own current thriller after engraining in your child to always have a book along as well. And TV? It isn’t either reading OR television, but honest effort to make reading an alternate, enjoyable pastime!!

Rule 3: The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, a teacher who gets 6th graders to read 40 books a year, weaving free reading in around curriculum mandates. Besides wanting to give a copy to every teacher you know once you’ve read it, you will find

  • Summaries of studies that show that time spent in free reading, where the students, NOT Accelerated Reader or other “leveled” programs, dictate what they read, are as effective or more effective in improving student reading scores. That means that no set of workbooks, drills, or reading scripts outperforms letting your child read
  • Stories of how she gets students to read and how she makes time for it
  • Lists of books students love
  • How to help your child find the right books.

Yes, your child may need some help with phonics and decoding, but reading has to remain fun!


Jane Kise, Ed.D. – Educational Advisor and Consultant, 
Jane  writes an insightful post every Tuesday for Kidtelligent. Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is