Turning Your Kids / Teens Into “Power Readers” (Part 3)

“Okay,” you might say. “Enough talk! What should I do?” Below are some suggestions I’ve used to help motivate my students, and also information that will help you – the parent. Please understand that this is not a panacea for every reluctant reader. Neither will it work if you only try a suggestion once or twice – repetition is the key – regardless of the age group you are dealing with.

Always remember that you are your own best judge when it comes to your child. Choose the information or suggestions you feel best for your situation. They are designed to inspire and provide fresh ideas to those parents willing to give them a try and if necessary, another, and another, and another…

I’ll start with the bad news first. (And please don’t stone the messenger) Sorry, moms and dads, but it’s your job — not the schools’ — to find books to get your kids reading and to make sure they read them. “How do you do this?” you might ask…Keep reading.

Some schools and school systems are on top of the reading problem. Is yours? Many schools around the country are successful at getting kids reading. That raises the obvious question: How come so many schools aren’t? There are terrific models for success with reluctant readers, but many school systems and state governments need to set aside their “not invented here” and “we have more important problems than education” attitudes. 


The Drop Everything and Read program is a brilliant learning tool used by more than a thousand schools. Drop Everything and Read schools devote one period a day to kids — and their teachers — doing nothing but reading, and mostly reading what they want to. The results can be dramatic.

The Knowledge Is Power schools in Washington require students to read at least 20 books a year and to carry a book with them at all times. Hooray! The Sun Prairie public schools in Wisconsin stopped buying textbooks and used the money to buy children’s trade books. Reading scores improved, because the kids wanted to read. P.S. 8 in the Bronx, New York, has a rotating library of student-published and student-illustrated books. Kids love books written by their peers.

The Battle of the Books Program: America’s Battle of the Books, ABB, is a reading incentive program for students in grades 3rd-12th. Students read books and come together to demonstrate their abilities and test their knowledge of the books they have read. 

The competitions are similar in style to the TV series Family Feud or Whiz Kids styles of competition, but the structure and format of the competitions may vary depending on the needs, resources and personal preferences at various school sites or at the regional/state competition levels. America’s Battle of the Books offers resources to students, parents, schools (public or private), librarians, home schools and international schools.

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Turning Your Kids / Teens Into “Power Readers” (Part 2)

Bravo to those of you with the foresight to start your children reading early in life! It has its definite advantages and (strictly in my opinion) is often easier to instill this habit around the ages of four to nine. When something becomes a habit less motivation is required to do whatever it is needed to accomplish the goal.

I have a friend who started her children reading around the ages of five using many of the ideas listed in this article. Today, both children ages 13 and 17 are avid readers. Nevertheless – although you’ll find suggestions that are applicable to the aforementioned type of readers, I truly want to focus on parents of reluctant readers in the age range of 8 to 17. 


Those of you who at the time – for whatever reason – didn’t take advantage of the opportunity of teaching your kids good reading habits in the early years – and now you’re beginning to see the negative results from it. Don’t worry, a little man with a big mallet won’t come out from behind your computer screen and bonk you on the head…

All is not lost. The sun will still rise in the morning and set in the evening. I’m not trying to be flippant. However, I receive a lot of email from concerned parents of all ages pertaining to this very subject and I’m here to tell you – with a little resourcefulness- you can motivate your children to read. Parents tell me all the time that “The Road To Dendura” has helped their child get motivated about reading.

Reality check… Let’s face it; some kids take to reading like a bear to honey while other respond to it like a five year old to a plate full of brussels sprouts. And – to make matters more challenging, it seems the older they get, the more distractions there are to keep them from wanting to read. I had that in mind when I began writing the Creed Griffon Series, and you can bet that I’ll stay on track with it until the final book is completed.

And while I’m on the subject, I’ll just come out and say the following: (because I receive plenty of email pertaining to this particular topic as well) – Don’t become frantic if your teen/child has received a poor mark in reading, or you’ve had a recent discussion with his/her teacher over problems in this area.

Most of us learn to read in due time. Yet I am certainly aware that arriving at this destination on a satisfactory level takes a little longer in some cases. Nonetheless, with a parent’s positive assistance – improvements can come faster. Note the word positive: meaning – try your hardest not to show frustration with your child or teen’s reluctance to read… This only makes it worse for everyone.

So take a deep breath. Simply because you’re reading this article demonstrates that you are a concerned parent ready and willing to assist by whatever means necessary. I personally know parents with this kind of ‘get involved attitude’ – and they get great results!



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Turning Your Kids / Teens Into “Power Readers” (Part 1)

“One of the reasons I wrote The Road to Dendura – was for those readers who need – for lack of better words want – what I like to call – a genuine page turner –where something is always happening or about to happen – not senseless situations – but circumstances with purpose. That’s the type of book I like to read, that’s the type of book I like to write. There’s never really a dull moment in the entire story. The book is designed to keep the reader turning pages in order to find out what happens next. 

Originally, The Road to Dendura was written with the teen and tween age range in mind, but kid’s as young as nine have been reading it through as well as adults who are not afraid to enjoy a good young adult fiction book. (Please visit the Creed Griffon “Rated E for Everyone” page.) And – for that I am very pleased. In addition, because I am a teacher – I have to confess that I seized the opportunity to weave vocabulary building words throughout.

This, in turn, will help expand the reader’s word base. This may not be the situation for every reader because I realize there are various levels of comprehension. However in some cases, the later will be applicable. Lastly, I am forever receiving questions about the language of the Druix. To be honest, first and foremost, it was written for fun. Yes, most definitely for fun. but such dialog also forces the use of phonetics – also an important part of reading.
Book two will be out shortly – 2012. The course of the series is cemented therein and will no doubt surprise many fans…”
Reading is one of the most important skills our children can learn. As I have stated many times before, reading is the foundation on which all other disciplines are based. For example, science, math, and history all involve – you guessed it – reading

Life involves – reading; therefore, it’s not hard to understand that reading is a necessity, and not necessarily a trivial pastime or dutiful obligation. Reading is the initial step needed to further progress in many other important areas of life – especially imagination and creativity. But how do you get a reluctant reader motivated enough to where they will actually pick up a book and do the unthinkable – read it!  …We’ll discuss that in the next blog post.


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