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Read, Read, Read

girl-readingIf your child is in grades K-6 and the teacher is worried about whether his or her reading skills are at grade level, remember these three rules:

  •  Don’t Panic
  •  Always Carry a Book (preferably two)
  •  Let The Book Whisperer Be Your Guide

Sorry if you don’t recognize the reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, –the first in Douglas Adams’s five-book trilogy of space, comedy and mayhem. I read the entire series aloud to my son when he was well into his teens. Yes he could read (he even became an English major) but because bedtime reading was a delightful habit no one at our house wanted to abandon.

But back to the rules. Avoid panic–it often results in hiring tutors or buying workbooks or insisting children read out loud. NONE of these practices are as helpful as getting children to spend time reading books they want to read. And, they usually waste the time that children could be spending reading!!

Instead of worrying about reading level, worry about reading love–you’re trying to create a lifelong reader and worksheets usually create lifelong reading haters. Children love stories, real or fictional. Make sure they see reading as fun, not as work.

That does mean never bribing them to read–other than with back rubs, that is! Make it a joint activity. Read beside your child. Model how reading is part of life, not something done at school. If they have trouble sitting still (and If your school has an incentive program, try to ignore it. Ideally your child will blow by the number of pages needed for a prize and say, “Why would anyone want a reward beyond the great stories?”

To create this kind of love of reading though, parents need to model it. Next week we’ll talk about the other two rules, reading everywhere and learning from public school teacher Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer!

 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  www.janekise.com
  • If a reading habit is in place, the levels will take care of themselves over time.  Parents (and teachers) help create readers when they model the love of books and reading.  Great post!

  • Cassandra Turner

    Any suggestions on what parents can say to schools that insist students read for 20 minutes a night, from the approved reading list and at the student’s AR level so they can take a quiz on the book?