5 Ways Parents Can Encourage a Reluctant Reader

Posted March 20, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Once a child has the motivation to learn to read, you as a parent are in the clear. Sometimes a reluctant reader might need a little nudge to discover the brave new world offered by reading. Here are some suggestions.

1. Let your child choose his or her own books at the library. If your child chooses Captain Underpants, swallow your pride and check out that book. A child who falls in love with reading will most likely continue to enjoy it for many years to come.

2. At the library, you should choose a few books for your child as well. Do a little research ahead of time or ask your librarian for suggestions that respect your child’s ability and interests.

3. Model nuanced reading for your child. Release your inner actor and read with gusto! New readers are so consumed with sounded words out and learning new vocabulary that they often lose track of the story.

4. Read aloud together. Reading together is a wonderful social activity at any age. You and your child share the experience and can discuss or refer back to it later.

5. Encourage your reluctant reader with positive feedback. Given the right reasons, every child can be excited about reading–and writing too. Let your child’s interests lead the way.

[photo by saundraG via flickr]

Carets, a Delicious Writing Treat

Posted January 11, 2008 & filed under Lesson Plan, Notebook.


To encourage my students to revise, I bring in this lesson by Marcia Chamberlain. Students as young as first grade can learn to use the caret and delete editing symbols. Before students revise their individual pieces, we revise a piece of writing as a class. I bring in a carrot to help teach using the “caret.” Students use the carrot to point to where they want something added. To practice deleting, students take turns leading the class in making the loop de loop sign in the air; we create a funny noise to make with the movement.

In the above example, the original line of the poem read, “the sound of the big dolphins.” The students agreed that ‘big’ was a boring word, so they replaced it with ‘humongous.’ I asked the students to create the actual sound they believed dolphins make, so we could include that in the poem. “Tri tri” is what they came up with.

Then it’s time for students to revise their own pieces. I bring in red pens for students to revise with or let students select one of their colored pencils. The novelty of writing with a new implement is often enough to make revising exciting and fun!amy-lin-in-a-maze.jpg