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26 tips for reading aloud

By Reta Pyke

Doing reading exercises at home can greatly enhance school reading lessons, according to Timothy V. Rasinski, author of The Fluent Reader (Scholastic Books). Although his book is written for teachers, many of the strategies can be adapted for use at home. In summarizing Rasinski’s advice where it applies to parents, we’ve come up with 26 tips. more »

What types of books captivate reluctant readers?

by Danielle Westbrook

Not every child struggles with reading in the same manner, or for the same reasons. Although people regularly label kids who are frustrated with reading “reluctant readers,” kids can be less than avid readers, but not quite reluctant readers when they’ve simply lost their confidence in reading for lack of books that interest them.

For parents, the question is, which books will captivate?

Adolescents’ search for independence affects their reading tastes. As they enter middle school they move from wondering about the nature of the world they live in, to trying to find out where they fit in. The books that appeal reflect their interests and curiosities – which include movies, television shows, sports and pastimes. Parents need to look for books with similar topics or themes, while also considering accessibilty. If the language and sentence structure are beyond the student’s level of understanding, the frustration with reading will only grow. more »

For the love of books

by Laura Langston

Books have always been an important part of my life. Since I’m of the “children are made readers on the laps of their parents” school of thought, I assumed my kids would share my passion.

My daughter was captivated by books when very young. My son, not so much. For a long time, Zach only read books about fire trucks. Then came books about dinosaurs, sea creatures and cops, and only if I pushed him to sit down with me. But a story? Even a short one? Forgetaboutit. Zach had no time for a fictional world.

Until the summer of his fifth birthday. We were spending a week at the beach and taking a bag of books each was de rigueur. Having reached the end of the cops cycle, I didn’t know what to take for Zach.

My husband did. He went out and bought a couple of Pokemon books. They were more comics than anything. One didn’t even have a story – just a creature per page, in bright graphic detail, with the names spelled normally and phonetically. The second was an actual story, but heavy on the kid-friendly graphics. We gave the first book to Zach on the drive, hoping the pictures would hold his interest until we arrived. more »

What is the "fourth-grade slump"?

By Pam Withers

Your kid loved books until he hit fourth grade. Now it’s a royal pain getting him to pick up a book at all. He says books are boring. He says school is too hard. If that rings true, join the club.

Forty percent of kids between the ages of five and eight read every day, but by fourth grade, that nose-dives to 29%, according to a 2006 Scholastic Inc. survey.

It’s called the fourth grade slump, a term coined by Jeanne S. Chall (1921-1999), a Harvard Graduate School of Education psychologist, writer and literacy researcher for over 50 years.

There are many reasons why a child might start resisting reading around the age of nine (actually, anywhere from the end of second to the middle of fifth grade), but here’s the simplest explanation: That’s when schools expect children to go from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” more »

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