Understanding Reluctant Readers:

Parents usually sigh in frustration when they discuss with others that their child “hates” reading.  However, kids don’t hate reading; instead they hate being forced to read.  Many school curricula have mistakenly placed an emphasis on quantity rather than quality reading.  For example, reading twenty minutes a night, or four books in a marking period are simply quantitative requirements that are forcing young students to check off time like a prisoner making hash marks during his sentence. 

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Instead of presenting the requirements of time and text, find topics and other printed materials, whether hard copy or e-copy, of things that are of interest to them.  For instance, my 11 year-old son likes to read Sports Illustrated for Kids because he loves sports.  My daughter reads her teen magazines, which is her break from the intensity of her middle school workload.  Finally, my youngest son reads Harry Potter with me, and on his own.  All three of them read well, and for school; however, the task is not overwhelming to them because they are exposed to material that is of high interest to them, thereby providing them with lots of practice in an environment that is not forced upon them.

All of them groan when they are reminded to read, but all of them do it, because what they are reading is of high interest to each of them.  Once kids learn that there are many things of interest to them in a written form, and are presented with the evidence, then half the battle is over. 


Be an Active Reader:

Reading is not a passive activity.  It is tantamount that young readers are exposed to active reading habits such as reading titles and making an inference from it.  Formulating questions prior to, and after reading is an a way to actively interact with text.  Furthermore, taking notes in the margin and highlighting key terms are active reading skills that enhance and promote higher order thinking skills. 


Be a Role Model:

If your kids see you reading, then you are showing the value of the activity at home.  The newspaper, People Magazine, Romance Novels, are all forms of reading that can be used to model for your children.  In fact, when reading the newspaper, it is great to discuss what you are reading with your children.  This empowers and makes them see how information is something important, and can only be gained through interaction with a text.  I use current events from hard copy and online newspapers to discuss what is occurring in the world today with my children.  Don’t ever underestimate what your son or daughter can handle or understand.


Final Thought:

If we allow or present reading to be a negative experience, then we cannot be surprised when our children have negative responses to the request.  There is a ton of access to reading materials without having to drive to the store or library.   The key at the start is not so much the quantity, but the quality and the subject matter is of high interest to the target audience: your children


Writing for Success will help you with your writing needs.  Writing clearly with cohesion is a challenge for most secondary students. With personalized help, students can learn more in one session with an experienced teacher, than he/she can accomplish in a week within the confines of traditional classroom settings.  

Matthew Forte is currently a professor teaching Writing Skills at County College of Morris in Randolph, NJ.  He previously was a classroom English teacher for 11 years In the New Jersey public school system. He obtained two Masters Degrees in English/Pedagogy, and Education Administration. He has experience in tutoring students with college essays, and addressing multi-prong writing prompts.  Furthermore, Professor Forte has experience helping students with application writing for schools such as: the University of North Carolina, the University of Pennsylvania, Notre Dame, William and Mary, Rutgers and more. He has tutored students in middle and high school with their English classes and various reading comprehension and writing needs.   Please visit http://mforte1970.wix.com/thewritingpro for a free consultation.

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