My 3rd grade son is in a remedial reading class at school.
Kristen - posted on 12/20/2008
This is all great advice. I haven't seen anyone mention making reading a "family" priority. At least 4-5 nights a week, my husband and I enjoy reading in the living room. Our 5yo sees us reading and he will get his books out to read. I must say, though, the my son is quite out of the ordinary. I don't know if it is a result of him seeing us read or if he is blessed, but he reads on a 3rd grade level, he can read silently and fluently at only the age of 5.
I never pushed him to read, just from birth he has seen us reading books and he wanted to be like Mommy and Daddy. I was never really able to read "to" him since he would always take the books away, flip the pages and make up stories for us!
Kelly - posted on 12/20/2008
Hi Mary -
I've been a special ed teacher for 13 years now, and I too, have a son who, for all extensive purposes, is a non-reader in high school. (He was diagnosed in 3rd grade.) A couple of things I see all the time, especially with boys, is the lack of interest everyone talks about. What helped me in this area are books on CD. My son LOVED the Harry Potter series when they first came out and tried really hard to read them, but after 2 weeks of reading an hour a day, he was still on chapter 2. So, I got the books on CD and he loved it. Sometimes he would follow along in the book, sometimes he would just listen, and a lot of the time, the whole family shut off TV and listened together - we still do with new books that I get. Everyone who wrote about finding things that interest him is exactly right. The other thing that happens a lot of times is that the reading difficulties are developmental. Everyone develops at different rates, and boys do tend to develop language portions of their brains a little more slowly than folks like to see sometimes. He may never be the bookworm you'd like him to be, that may be his personality. Whatever you do, make it fun and meaningful to him - and yourself.
Lorie - posted on 12/19/2008
I have the same problem with my son who is in the 5th grade. I agree that finding subjects your child is interested in is a great idea. Another possible suggestion is one I have recently started with my son. He is very interested in learning to cook. So I started having him read the instructions on recipies and boxes while we cook. It seems to be working well for him.
Find books that are appropriate and that he will enjoy. I have had a lot of experience with boys this age(2 sons) and any books that contained anything about bottoms, toilets, bodily functions had them giggling away for hours!!! Here in Aussie Land we have some great authors, one in Dave Pilky who has done a series called "Captain underpants" and another is Andy Gritthis. If you can get hold of any of their books I am sure you wont be able to pries them away from him.
I also work as a teachers aid and work with kids like yours, and as the others have suggested, read to him, also books on tape/CD are also another way to get him in to the world of stories.
Kathie - posted on 12/18/2008
Read to him. Every night at bedtime. It will calm him and leave him thinking about a story/book before he sleeps. Make a chart and for every 20 minutes he reads, color in a square. At 100 minutes - a prize; at 300 minutes - a bigger prize. Eventually you'll stumble on something he loves then follow the thread, either the subject of the book or the author... the prize can be an outing or a treat or a new book! whatever works! Measure time not pages. Also, try magazines... third grade boy - try race cars, motor cycles, dirt bikes, whatever he enjoys.
Madeleine (Maddy) - posted on 12/18/2008
I've been an English teacher for the past 9 years and I know how important reading is. Make reading books with him. Take about 10 sheets of A2 size paper. Concentrate on something that he enjoys, e.g rugby. Cut pictures out of magazines relating to rugby.
Design the front cover with him allowing him to do 99% of the work, remember to include his name as the author and of course a title for his book. Paste one picture per A2 page and help him to write something about the picture. Once he has made his own reading book he is going to want to make more. Praise him all the way and show off his creativity to as many friends and family, make sure that you do it in front of him.
Making books are so much fun. He learns about books 'author, illustrations, words, title and whether it's non fiction or fiction' His vocabulary will increase too.
I did the same with my daughter and today she has such a big love for books and she reads with a dictionary next to her. Another thing that I did, when my kids were growing up, was to teach them a new word per week. I would write the word on paper and put it on the fridge where they would see it everyday, and I would teach them words that they didn't often hear, e.g 'procrastinate'. By doing this their vocab increased and they did very well at school.
I hope that this advice will be of some help. Have a fabulous Christmas and a great new year.
Jessica - posted on 12/18/2008
Ask him if he creates a 'movie' in his head of what he is reading. So many kids are just word calling and not actually comprehending. No wonder it's boring! Also find out from the school what area(s) he needs help with. Find out if they have done a phonics screener and know which "holes" to fill. You could be helping with that at home as well...
My daughter is in 3rd grade now and in 1st grade they had put her in a reading group to help her advance her reading because she just wasn't at the level that she was supposed to be. It was the best thing that they could have done for her. Within no time, her level number (whatever it is supposed to be at that age) was increasing and by the end of the year she was up to where she was supposed to be level-wise. She didn't need to be in the reading group in 2nd grade but her teacher at that time had said that if she could get into a reading group that would be great because they are the best thing for these kids. It is a smaller group of kids and they really work with them to advance them. At least this is what they do at my childs school. I don't know how it works at other schools. I have talked with her teachers about the type of books that she should be reading and we did, at one point in 2nd grade, have the teacher pick out a book at the library and then have my daughter pick out a book as well so that she could see what types of books she should be reading. We figured out she was bringing books home that were way above her level of reading and she was getting frustrated. But they also do not want them reading books that have very few words that they can memorize them basically. So it is a fine line. She was tested coming into 3rd grade and they said she is reading above the levels they would expect her at. We are very happy about that because she did not really enjoy reading. She read because she had to. We have noticed that now that she can read better, she is starting to enjoy reading more. This year, in 3rd grade, we have been very strict about her reading every night for at least 20-30 minutes and if we are unable to sit with her while she reads, that she comes to ask us the word if she cannot pronounce it. We do like to read with her because then we can make sure she isn't skipping over words that she cannot pronounce. It is hard work for the child and parent. I am with you when you say you hope your child gets the love of reading because I love to read and I try to explain that to my daughter, how important it is to enjoy what you read and to not just read because you have to but because you want to. Overall, I would talk with his teachers and see what the best approach would be with your child because every child's way of learning is different. Good luck!
Andrea - posted on 12/18/2008
Find books that interest him. My middle child went through a phase were she didn't like to read. We kept reading to her her favorite stories and then we found a series of books that she really got into. I hope this helps and good luck to you.
Kari - posted on 12/18/2008
Hi, my name is Kari and I used to teach before I became a full time mom. Now, being a former teacher doesn't mean I have some miracle answer, but I can try to help. When trying to get your child to read and like to read it is super important that you are giving him books to read that really catch his interest. Don't try to get him to read a book because you liked it when you were a kid. Make sure it is a topic that he will really enjoy. Start small. Let him read books that are slightly below his reading level so that he can build up his confidence. Then work in a harder book every now and then to get his brain going. Work on all the aspects of reading. Sound out words, practice spelling, remind him of the sounds that letter combinations make. This all sounds really boring so it is also important to make it fun. One of the best things that you can do is to read to him. Everyday have a special reading time together. After you have read a book, or a chapter of a book to him ask him questions about what you read. This is a great way to spend time together, and a wonderful learning tool as well. Sorry if this was really long. I hope that I helped.
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