reluctant readers, again....

Everyday my seven year old must read for 10 minutes. The school says so. Some days it is not easy, and lord knows I don't want to force him to read at knifepoint. So here, for what it's worth, is a tip, which I think is rather a nice one, and which I've never heard anyone else mention it: on nights when I think it might be a struggle, I communicate only in written notes. One can still be sarcastic through facial expressions. And it gets him to read. (Here is the math I use, although I personally was always much better at reading: 3 short notes = 1 minute of reading, so after 30 notes we can stop).

This can also be made into a game--anyone remember the wonderful treasure hunt in Spiderweb for Two, by Elizabeth Enright, where written clue led to written clue over the course of the year? Notes about treasure always get read, and there can be as many clues as you want, ranging from the simple "look under your beg" to the dangerous "look in your closet" (he keeps his rock collection on the floor of it).

Over at Reading Rockets there's a request for suggestions on books to read aloud to two girls who have achieved Reading-ness, and don't particularly have any interest in being read to. I can't think of any books in particular, but I do have a thought. Reading out loud doesn’t have to happen on a sofa--we used to be read to while we colored, painted, sewed...although none of use ever did complicated models meant for much older children, like Petrova did in Ballet Shoes when they were all being read to. So maybe if the new book to be read aloud was begun with a new quite activity, it would give it impetus... (and if the girls in question haven't read Ballet Shoes, maybe that would be a good one....)


  1. Thanks for your comment over at Sound It Out, and for the introduction to your blog! I'll be back!

  2. Hi,

    I grew up as a reluctant reader. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys 8 and up, that kids hate to put down. My web site is at http://www.maxbooks.9k.com and my Books for Boys blog is at http://booksandboys.blogspot.com
    Ranked by Accelerated Reader

    Thank you,

    Max Elliot Anderson

  3. That's interesting, Charlotte. I haven't seen that suggestion anywhere else, either. But I loved Spiderweb for Two. Did you know that there's going to be a new paperback reissue of the whole Melendy family series this year? Anyway, glad that the notes are working for your son.

  4. Charlotte, I think you're onto something with the notes. That's a good idea. I was thinking of y'all last week when I was in the school library. Have you guys ever tried riddles? "Snakey Riddles," by Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg looked fun.

    Calvin & Hobbes was the secret to my son's independent reading. And that came toward the end of 2nd grade. Garfield and Peanuts are other ones.

  5. That's great news about the Melendy books, Jen! They deserve to last.

    "Snakey Riddles" and its ilk might well appeal, Susan -- thanks! And it is good to know that we are not alone. We have a few months of second grade left...

    And as for Max--give it a rest, why don't you. You're not winning any friends.


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