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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