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tangolily 04-21-2013 10:04 AM

Reluctant reader
Any suggestions on how to motivate a child who is not motivated to read and whose parents do not feel should have to read for homework?

The child is reading at the low end of grade level and does not respond positively to having a choice of reading materials. She grudgingly will choose between a small set of books or choose to read a short piece and answer short questions instead of actually getting into a real book. And even then, she will "forget" to read or forget her book, etc.

I have bought many books hoping to find the one that will catch her attention but so far, not much luck. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

1956BD 04-21-2013 02:45 PM

What about a mentor?
Perhaps they could start by just reading aloud to her. My bet is she has never been read to since her parents do not see the value. They could discuss the story as they read and listen.

Then in time the mentor could bring two copies of a book to introduce to her. They could start with a read aloud. Then they could agree how much they would each read before their next visit. When they met again they could have a book talk.

It would also be great if she could meet adults from different professions that would share with her what they read to be able to do their jobs well. Plus, they could share what they read for pleasure.

You might also try giving her crafts with directions. Paper crafts are easy because the supply list is not expensive. It is very self satisfying to read directions correctly and when you are done you have a product for your efforts. It usually gives kids a sense of pride and accomplishment. Snowflakes, pinwheels, cootie catchers and origami are just a few fun projects my students have enjoyed.

ODNT 04-21-2013 03:03 PM

Some things to try...
If you are buying books, how about letting her select a book "for the class" from a Scholastic catalog. When it comes in, make a big deal of the book[s], ask who wants to read it, but she gets to read it first. Something I have done that worked well is a read aloud after lunch, with multiple copies of the book I am reading. I only have between 6-10 copies, so I pick sticks to see who gets one. I was surprised at the number of lower readers that this appealed to. And they actually read along!

tangolily 04-21-2013 04:57 PM

Good advice.
Oooh! I really like the mentor idea. I might be able to make that work. And reading directions is a good idea, too. And having her pick out the next read aloud makes great sense. Thank you both for your replies. You've given me some good ideas - and some hope! I'm grateful for both.

delidkteach 04-22-2013 05:31 PM

Some things that I find motivational for struggling readers who are, as a result, reluctant to read are putting them in a position to share their skills with other people within the school community.

For example, maybe try having the student read to the principal, kitchen staff or custodians. They can read books at their level to these adults and receive positive feedback in a safe environment.

Another thing that you could have this student do is become a reading buddy with children in younger grades and make them a mentor. This student would read with other younger students and in turn be able to practice their own decoding and comprehension skills at the same time. If you empower the student and pose this task as a position of power in some way; the student will be more motivated.

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