Reading - Encouraging reluctant readers

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
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Reading - Encouraging reluctant readers

Unread post by kellybell »

Gail wrote:I have a book basket in my living room. My 8yo DEVOURS the book basket. I do not have to ask her to do book basket... I see her in it all the time!

Problem: I end up assigning books, otherwise my reluctant readers will not read anything, or may just scan a few pictures. Is this OK? Should I be reading some to them?? Now keep in mind, these dc are 11 and 13!! I've tried to console myself that they get the "meat" from the spine books that come with the curriculum and there are read alouds assigned also, but I want the book basket to be a delight.

Suggestions please?
Okay, here's what I'd do in your situation.

Stock the basket with all sorts of goodies (an easy to read Bible, bibliographies, wonderful picture books, fiction, nonfiction, art books, poetry, cookbooks, etc.). Then ALL of you (you included) do book basket at the same time. Do this about three days a week. On the other day or two, YOU select a book and read it to them (yes even the older ones -- I read to my 11 and 13's each day) and say, "okay, that was your book basket today."

Don't assign books. Instead, stock the basket with acceptable things. If a child (even an older one) wants to just "look at the pictures" that is okay. That's what I do sometimes!

If there is a "don't miss" book, that's what YOU read to them. For the rest, just quietly stock the basket and then quietly take them back to the library in a few weeks. Let us know how it goes.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Unread post by JoyfulDancer »

I have this problem with my oldest, who is 9.5. She likes to read what I call "candy" books, like the Babysitter Club books, and turns up her nose at the book basket. I started limiting her "candy" reading and assigning her one classic to read. Right now she is reading "My Side of the Mountain". At first she complained and said it was boring, but now she says she really likes it.

In my mind she needs develop a taste for the vegies and fruit and less so for the candy when it comes to reading. I'm hoping as I keep assigning her the good books she will begin to develop a taste for them. I also am always reading one or two books from the basket to them. We are reading Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates and The Wheel on the School right now. My dd really prefers when I read to them.
Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Hi Gail,
I haven't exactly solved this problem, myself, but both of the above posts are things that have helped us. A few other things I've tried,

For book basket:

* Put lots of science books in book basket, rather than all history.
* Occasionally have a video or audiobook in book basket.
* Be sure to have below-age-level books and books with exciting pictures.
* Occasionally have a "hands-on" book with interesting things to explore -- there are "postman" books with mail, books with plastic overlays, pop-ups, etc (Sam's Club often has inexpensive ones).

For reading:

* Start with really easy chapter books
* Build from the "candy" that he likes (I like that explanation!) -- we went from Nate the Great, to Encyclopedia Brown, to Hardy Boys, and Henry Huggins was in the mix
* Really go over exactly what he likes & doesn't like in readers -- does he like action, humor, conversation, faith, feelings, facts?
* Read the first chapter to him with a lot of expression & meaning -- sometimes boys look at the big picture & don't notice the little things like feelings or morals that are a big part of the plot
* Really discuss what he's reading early on in the book, and find out if he gets it or relates to it -- sometimes ds sees something in a completely different way than I would expect
* Try some easier, fun classics -- ds is reading Pippi Longstockings right now, and before that he read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
* If you have an "active" learner, let him dramatize the chapter in a puppet show or play for the family or for you
* If you have a "people person" then try to be nearby for spontaneous conversation if he wants to share what is happening

HTH, Julie
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Unread post by Lucy »

Mommyto2 wrote:My ds reads well but the words jump on the page for him so he doesn't like to read. I feel I am accomplishing a lot to get him to read for pleasure. Now that we are zipping through one state each day and he has learned some basic facts, he has no desire to read any of the books suggested for the historical reading for book basket time. He is much more interested in the science books. So is it enough?
Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:26 pm

I would let him read what he is interested in and not worry if he is not reading the other history books. If there is one that you really like and want him to hear or experience then you may ask him or tell him that you would like to read him a book.

The important thing is that he is learning to enjoy reading and learning that books are a great place to learn new information from. I have had the same situation in my own home and I think others would tell you the same. He sounds like a very normal young boy to me:)!

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Re: Book Basket Question for 7yr old

Unread post by momtogc »

NCJessieRN wrote:We are LOVING Adventures this year! My son can read but does not like to. During book basket time he sits with books but only looks at the pictures and chooses not to read even if I have books that are easy for him to read. 1. Is that okay? 2. Does this mean he will never want to read? Thanks for helping me sort things out ;)
I think it's an okay thing. The TM says the child doesn't have to read every book and that they can enjoy browsing and looking at pictures. It's good that he's at least willing to look at the books. If you notice that he has a particular interest in a topic you might join him, show him how exciting it is to learn more about the topic by reading some of the information (without necessarily reading the entire chapter/section, etc). Ask questions that can only be answered by reading a bit; this might spark his interest. If he takes "small bites" along the way he may learn to love reading independently.

Best wishes!
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Re: Book Basket Question for 7yr old

Unread post by jasntas »

I have a 3rd grade, 8 yo (soon to be 9 in Feb) reluctant reader and we are using Adv. This is our first year homeschooling since he was in K. My ds was not interested in book basket at all at the beginning of the year. He is still not really interested but what I have done is to find as many easy readers on the subject as I can. Most are from the library but a few I purchased. Most (almost all of) the books that were suggested in the TM have been of no interest to him. He sees all the words and just puts it back. He didn't even care to look at the pictures because he wanted me to read the captions and I told him he needed to read at least some of them himself.

Anyway, from the easy readers I get on the subject of the week (and from his sis. K subjects) I have him read some of them out loud to me during his "reading" time. He has started to become more interested in the subjects and more willing to at least "browse" the books during book basket time. I am just believing that over time if I continue to gently nudge him he will eventually love or at least like to read. He LOVES to be read to so I know he has a love for books. He will even occasionally grab a book and ask his 10 yo, 5th grade cousin to read to him. And this is at times that he could be playing instead.

I believe that the idea of book basket is to give them the opportunity to read more on the subjects they are currently learning about without the child having to be at the library trying to sort through hundreds of books. The books are already available just waiting for the child to browse through and find something of interest to them.

We are currently in week 9. So far the books I have found to be of the most interest to my ds have been the Step Into Reading Series Step 2, Ready To Read Series Level 2 and the Welcome Books Series. The Welcome Books are like very brief history books highlighting the person of interest. He has read one on Ben Franklin and will soon be reading one on George Washington. These particular books have about 1 to 3 sentences per page with a picture, painting or drawing on each facing page.

Anyway, that's what we have been doing. I think it's a combination of being a boy and his age, at least for us. I would just continue to expose him to book basket and try to match the books to your child's interests and I believe he will eventually find his own interest in books.
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Re: Book Basket Question for 7yr old

Unread post by NCJessieRN »

Thanks so much for both of the replies! That helps a lot! I'm encouraged :)
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Julie in MN
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I'm not sure how to choose and schedule books

Unread post by Julie in MN »

my3boys wrote:Although he enjoys reading and stories, I cannot just hand him a book and expect him to read it - he will read for 5 or 10 minutes, put the book down, forget to pick it up again, not be able to find it the next day, and then cry because it is too long. He seems to need me to break it up into manageable pieces and schedule a time for him to sit and read it - and even then it is hard for him to concentrate on it for very long.
So, about problems with boys & reading, I'll just share a few things that I did over the years with MFW. I know your problem is ADD and ours isn't, but my son still is very active, very social, and very auditory/verbal, so sitting and reading a book through just doesn't happen here, either. Here are some things that did seem to help:

- When I was reading, he was/is allowed to move. Currently he is into juggling :~ but over the years he's done many things while I have read, including rolling on a giant exercise ball. I've tested his retention here & there, and found it's actually much higher if he's moving.

- For his reading, I follow the MFW lesson plans with independent reading scheduled daily. However, I have allowed him to read books that are way below his grade/ability. I have had much prayer over this, because my son is an excellent reader and yet even in 5th or 6th grade was still sometimes reading those "first readers" about different presidents & such. But over the years, God has helped direct our paths and with the aid of things like a boys' book club and exposure to good literature in MFW, he has now finally in 8th grade been reading up to his ability with books like Tom Sawyer. (We still use some of the techniques below, though.)

- After allowing really easy books for a while, I might nudge him forward by honing in on the "type" of easy book he was enjoying, and increasing the difficulty a little at a time. For instance, when he liked the humor in Amelia Bedelia (the puns get funnier the older you get), we tried Pippi and Piggle-Wiggle. When he liked Nate the Great (simple mysteries & quirkiness), I tried to move him into Homer Price and Encyclopedia Brown. There are also books that "look" easy and actually have more meat than the child realizes, such as Shh! We're Writing the Constitution.

- The amount I assigned was approximately one chapter a day, and the length of the chapters naturally progressed over the years. I allowed him to present a case for reducing the amount if he felt the chapter was excessively long.

- We've used a lot of audiobooks over the years. Depending on your child's learning styles, audiobooks can be a great blessing to allow children to experience good literature, hear good vocabulary, and avoid burn-out. (If he's not auditory, he might listen while following along in some books.) For instance, during RTR he listened to a Beowolf-based audiobook from Jonathan Park.

- Often I read the first chapter aloud, or even the first two chapters of longer books. Those chapters often have so much setting and character development that they don't begin to draw the reader in. Also, each book has its own "style" and I like to model that for my son. He has been known to mistake humor or local dialects for simple grammar errors ;)

- Because my son is so social, and reading feels like "solitary confinement," I have often sat next to my son and read my own books (or teacher materials) while he is reading. That way, he can stop and share what he is laughing about or tell me the scary part. He has been known to read much more at a time with me sitting nearby.

- I allow more flexibility in reading time than with most other subjects. My son can read at bedtime in his room or during school out in the hammock. He also doesn't have to read the entire chapter at once, although I do think it saves time and helps with comprehension if he reads several pages at a time. When he was especially resistant, I allowed him to read a bit, then do something active like chin-ups or take a walk, and then back and forth. However, he must read his chapter each day or this flexibility gradually disappears for a while ;(

- Adding one more: Sometimes we focus on videos for "book basket time," especially if ds is doing a good job of reading during "reading time." I feel his studies are still enriched :)

Maybe some little thing in there will work for your young man?
baileymom wrote:Julie
I LOVE all your great ideas on reading with your boy, they will come in very handy for me (with 5 boys:).

He's really outgrown Amelia, Mr Putter, Nate the Great, and he can read the "big boy" books, but he'd really just rather stick with the younger stuff (and Cam Jansen, he LOVES Cam Jansen). Maybe I'll just let him go on for a while like this, esp since he listens in on most of the the RtR stuff.

And, the audiobook stuff is so true, him and all his little brothers would listen to anything I put in the CD player.
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Almost ready to start ECC!

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

Yodergoat wrote:I am glad that we've been on this journey together, especially since we have children with similar interests and who had similar struggles with reading early on. Remember that? It seems like so long ago now and I'm thankful that I had this board and you to share with during all my insecurities then. :)
Oh, I remember the reading....oh the tears! Ha, ha!! So glad I can smile about it now. It's been a while since I updated, but Zack has really taken off with reading. I backed way off this year and had him reading below his level to help him gain confidence and fluency. After having him read a series of increasing levels of easy readers, I handed him The Trumpet of the Swan. He looked at me funny and asked if I was sure he could read it. "Yup, you can definitely do it!" He wasn't convinced, but after the first chapter he was totally hooked. He has been a book worm ever since. He reads books like The Littles in one day and complains they aren't long enough. Ha, ha, ha!! He prefers books like the Little House books. He read On the Banks of Plum Creek by himself instead of us doing it as a read aloud.

My new struggle is finding books that have appropriate content while being a high enough reading level. I can't find books fast enough. It is a much better struggle to have than trying to get him to read.

How is Gail doing with reading?
Yodergoat wrote:She can read quite well, and with fluency... when she tries. :~

She just isn't very motivated to read for pleasure. I have trouble relating, because I was reading lengthy novels (think Watership Down and the like) at her age. But my husband reminds me that he just did not read of his own accord until fifth grade. He said that he lacked the patience for it. After about fifth grade, he couldn't be stopped. Gail really takes after him in many ways, so perhaps this is one of them. She did read several chapters out of one of the In Grandma's Attic books during a recent vacation, but that was out of the ordinary. She LOVES audio books and enjoys read-alouds... perhaps because we do them as a family.

In other ways, I am relieved that she isn't a voracious reader yet. It means I don't have to struggle to find books with good content. ;)

I just asked Gail why she does not choose to read books very often, and this was her answer: "I don't know exactly. Sometimes I am in the mood to sit and read a book. But most of the time I would rather be doing something more active. If I don't really feel like reading, I must just force myself to do it and that's not very enjoyable."

So that sounds rather like her father, who said he didn't have the patience for it. But to Gail's credit, she doesn't complain about reading for school, and will read the Bible.
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