Category Archives: Reluctant Reader

Not all children initially enjoy reading for one reason or another. Children sometimes need a helping hand in life, sport, school work, relationships, sport, maths and even reading. Not all children enjoy reading; so how can we encourage these children to read? Is it due to the style of books they have read previously? Here you will find ideas, hints, thoughts, different approaches and activities that may help.

Free Children Activities – the magical place where everyone can discover answers 

With the storms of NSW here and winter still to arrive, I was wondering what many parents do to entertain their young ones.  I recently read a blog by a new mum, about how she found it difficult getting out with a new baby. How by looking online, for a free or cheap event that would allow her to take her baby, she discovered the story time for Mums and Bubs at her local library. She discovered a safe, welcoming and enjoyable place for her and baby to meet and socialise with others.  I reminisced about my times as a new mum taking my children to storytime and how excited they were. How special the librarians made them feel with their bits of craft. How I was able to make new friends, mums, with similar aged children, who also loved reading.  How my children would choose the special book we would read each night for a week.  I am sure they felt empowered and was I believe,  the beginning of them realising the consequences of their choices, in a great and positive way.  This was a special time and now a lovely memory for my children. 

When I was a child, I would have to walk past the library everyday to and from school. Every afternoon, I would browse the shelves, eager to be a young adult so I could borrow the “grown-up” books. I was an early reader and due to many reasons books were my best escape from reality. My mum who lived on a diet of books and boiled lollies, whilst reading, being a shift worker and unable to access the library during its opening hours, would have me at times return her novels and collect another stack of novels. Authors such as, Georgette Heyer and Daphne du Maurier, the ones I still remember were her favourites or so I thought.  This allowed me to visit the adult shelves and borrow on my mum’s card…. Shhhh don’t tell anyone! 

I would dream about borrowing and reading from the A’s to the Z’s of the fiction shelves in order.  When I finally was able to borrow adult novels on my own card, and attempt to realise this dream, I found that many were not to my liking.  I found that I was reading novels that did not interest me (I had and still have, to a certain extent, a thing about finishing even the worst book and not quitting half way) so I never accomplished my goal. I also realised very quickly how impossible that task would be.

Today, with the Internet, online access to e-books, audio books, e-newspapers and e-magazines enable many to access items without entering the physical library. The physical library still has a place for many wanting to meet, discuss, create or just sit quietly with a book.  Libraries can offer children a magical place where anything is possible they just need to want to know about one thing and begin to question. 

 I have recently visited and critically reviewed, many public libraries in NSW, for my own personal understanding of what is wanted and needed by the community and how the library achieves this. One of these libraries is the Goulburn Public Library  which to me is trying to connect with its community by using social media, namely Facebook. The Goulburn Library is attempting to involve and communicate with the community. It seems to be growing its online presence by focusing on mums with young children, who are also possibly one of the main users of Facebook.  Another high user of Facebook, teenagers, may need assistance in their homework, and so the library offers their community a free online tutor. The library is being renovated and they post updates on the progress which is a great way to keep up to date with any new initiatives or programs they may offer.   

Do you  visit your local library? Are you a member of your local public library? 

When was the last time you visited either in real life or online?  

Are you aware of its services it provides?  

Do you make the most of what your library offers you? 
Check out the events that they hold.  Maybe you or your loved ones can not only gain knowledge but also make new friends or acquaintances.  Lego club is one of the latest things many of the local libraries offer, so even if your young one does not like reading (blasphemy!) they may enjoy the creativity one can experience in a library.  
If you have not been to a library for sometime, I challenge you to visit your nearest one.  Borrow a book, CD or DVD.  SIgn into their e-reader catalogue where you can access items online and not have to venture out in the inclement weather or when life is to busy to physically browse during the library’s opening hours.

Also, I would love to know why, you have not joined your local library? Is there a reason? I am curious. 

On a final note here is Arthur Library card song to inspire and maybe motivate you to visit your public library. 


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Filed under Community building, Community Events, Early & Emergent Readers, General thoughts, Libraries, Pre-Readers (Snuggle Books), Proficient Readers, Reluctant Reader

Readers Front and Center

A great synopsis of a valuable book which seems to give us tools to help our children not only to read but to understand their comprehension when reading. Whether they understood or misunderstood when reading. I am about to start reading this as I need to assist my 10 year old rather than tell her. Great blog to follow! Michelle

Catching Readers Before They Fall

readers-front-and-center I just finished reading a new book and now I’m feeling the need to shout about it. You might remember my posts from 2012 about my excitement after reading Barnhouse and Vinton’s What Readers Really Do from Heinemann (click on the 3 highlights and you will go to my past posts.) Dorothy Barnhouse has continued to share her work with her latest book, Readers Front and Center , from Stenhouse. Her premise is that “instead of listening for answers, we should be trying to listen to our students.” And she does exactly that as she takes us with her to each student she confers with.   She believes that if we really listen to our students we will be able to figure out not only what they are comprehending but also how they are understanding or misunderstanding what they are reading. But the biggest thing I’ve learned from her is what…

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Filed under Book Reviews, Early & Emergent Readers, Proficient Readers, Reading Programs, Reluctant Reader

Connections and Relationships

Solitary Confinement?
Many people consider books to be a solitary hobby but they are most mistaken, books bring people together in so many ways.
• The local play group have a story time, usually amongst lots of noise and crying.
• The public libraries also have baby and toddler story times so as to encourage new or new to the local area mums to meet.
• There are book cafes, book clubs, and books about book clubs (Jane Austen Book Club) which become so popular they become movies.
•There are online book clubs, such as goodreads and LibraryThing.

History to today
The earliest surviving papyrus scrolls are c2400 BC to where books today are virtual (eBooks). Many occupations rely on books, from the writer to the publisher, the book seller and the librarian, the printer and the archivist. Books are anything but solitary.

 

Babies and Toddlers

Children are introduced usually to a book that they soothe their gums with or push under the water in the bathtub. Before they are able to speak most children are read to each night until they are able to read to themselves and don’t want a good meaning parent snuggling up reading to them. Although, one father chose to read every night to his daughter until it was no longer possible, The Reading Promise: 3218 nights of reading with my father, was written by Alice Ozma, the daughter and she reveals a beautiful bond that was treasured through reading. This inspires most parents to attempt this feat but sadly, life gets in the way.

Youth

When children stop, to read a book, they are carried to various places, times, and events. They are only limited by their imagination and this allows them to recharge from the craziness of today’s busyness and demands. They are able to switch off from their real lives and any problems or issues are put to one side so that they are able to immerse themselves into the character in the book. University of Sussex, 2009 study, found that reading for 6 minutes can reduce stress levels up to 68%. Books help children overcome situations, teaching them how to deal with things like bullying or even just how to care for their new pet.

Books are not the answer to all life’s issues but they can take you to a place where no one else has been nor can enter.

Except for this one time…..

Further Reading

.A study of 17,000 people from birth indicates that reading for pleasure improves not just literacy, but maths ability too. And we will soon know whether the effects continue into adult life

New research shows works by writers such as Charles Dickens and Téa Obreht sharpen our ability to understand others’ emotions – more than thrillers or romance novels.
12 Scientific ways reading can actually improve your life.

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Are classics that important?

My mum had my brothers and I reading classics from an early age.  I was reading Austen, Bronte, Dickens whilst in primary school. I was not an amazing English student but I loved reading and reading classics was all I knew.  I was not allowed to read other novels. So when I was told in my first English class, in high school, we were going to read and analyse a John Steinbeck novel I was thrilled. I had already read Of Mice and Men (written 1937) and I believed that soon we would be reading Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Kafka.  My excitement and enthusiasm were soon deflated when I was given, The Red Pony, a very depressing book, especially for animal lovers.

I now know why I love reading classics. They contain beautifully constructed prose, are filled with information of a world long gone and gives an insight into books and novels that were really a cherished form of art and quite exclusive.

FAST FORWARD 17+ years

I still LOVE reading and as I have stated previously, I have four gorgeous children. I wanted to instill this love of reading, especially classics, but sadly they love every other genre but not classics. They have read one or two but I have found unless I read to them (even my soon to be 15 year old still loves me to read to him) they find it unenjoyable. My children find the prose to wordy, filled with too much description, old colloquialisms and are just “BORING!”.  Modern novels grab the readers attention from the first paragraph, have less adjectives and descriptive paragraphs and are less “wordy”, so I am told by Miss R.

Is this a result of today’s society? The hustle, bustle and fast paced world that we live in? We don’t have time to waste even when reading?

Is it because the other types of media,TV, Computers, DVDs etc, are so engaging and give instantaneous gratification? Classics take a few chapters for one to be engrossed into the story.

Have we, as a society, moved on from these types of books? Has language changed that much?

Are kids today lazier or not as intelligent (if so what has caused this?) and find these types of books too much effort?

My mother thinks it is today’s parents’ fault, and that I am failing as a parent, as we don’t force our children to read the classics. I personally don’t want to force my children to read a book of my choosing.  I do, suggest books I think they may enjoy. I know that they are not dumb so one may skip, flick through a book pretending to read. Even worse they could begin to detest reading if forced to read something that is of no interest to them. So I will never force them to read a classic hoping in time they may choose to read one.

I know my children love reading as much as I do but they enjoy different genres to my favourites.  Which, has led to many interesting and enjoyable dinner table conversations. Which I think is what reading is all about, connecting with others by sharing ideas and thoughts.

 

 

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March into spring with National Poetry Month by Angela Verges – A “novel idea!” or should it be a “poetry idea!”

This morning I came across this blog.  I really love that others are doing and thinking outside of the square.  There are people encouraging  children to read different styles of writing, by creating environments that involve children to participate in the culture of writing. A quote I read yesterday, “to be a good reader you must write and likewise to be a good writer one must read”.  Sadly, I can not remember or find this original post so am unable to acknowledge the author.  These school holidays rather than hearing the “I’m bored”  or spending time doing the same holiday activities, that do get a bit tiresome. We are going to set up a smokey, jazz, poetry type cafe. Where we will all take turns in reciting poetry, even our own attempts in writing, whilst enjoying the special style of food and drinks that is in keeping with the theme. The kids will think I have gone crazy (as my two teens may be too cool for this) but I am sure we will have fun and lots of laughter and memories.

the family that reads together

Spring is in the air (almost) and it’s National Poetry Month. What will you do to celebrate April as National Poetry Month?

Blog Photo

When my son was in the seventh grade his Language Arts teacher transformed their classroom into a poetry café. Parents were invited to the gala. As I entered the room I was immediately immersed in the atmosphere.

The classroom was illuminated with a small table lamp at the front of the room and faux candles on the tables. Thump thump… thump thump, was the sound of the bongos as one student read his poetry. At the end of each spoken word fingers snapped as a form of applause.

After visiting the makeshift poetry café, I realized how much fun poetry can be for all ages. Celebrate poetry month by creating your very own family café. Each family member can create an original poem or recite a favorite one…

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All children are different!

Being a mother of four children, one would expect that I would know by the third child that learning to read for them would be easy and it would not cause so much angst but each child is different. They all have different personalities, likes, dislikes and thus why not different learning styles.

My first child was hard work and I mean hard work! He was a typical boy did not want to sit and learn how to read sight words.  This meant I had to spend so much time and loss of hair getting him to sit down and learn to read. I also was fortunate to have a mum who only had one child and was very eager to do posters with the sight words laminated with sticky dots so we can add them to the poster or play games with. I had a new born baby and learning sight words was like Chinese torture for both he and I.

Miss R taught herself to read and before she started school she was reading basic books and was able to spell all 200 sight words.  She even found sentence construction easy. She was like the character Matilda, in the book Matilda, by Roald Dahl but we were not like that family!

Miss S started school in a different state and missed the crucial year of schooling where sight words and sounding out starts. She is now in year 5 and I still believe she struggles, even though the teachers say she is fine.

Miss M is similar to Miss R and reads with fluency and expression, she is only 8 and my husband and I believe she is the better reader of all four. She also enjoys reading and will be found most times when not playing with her nose in a book.

Now, all four can read but all learnt to read in different ways and now Mr L is the bookworm and is very precious about the care of his books.

So, what is the best way to teach a child to read? Should we be teaching them sight words before they start school, so as they have the advantage over other little ones? Is reading early a sign of intelligence? When is the best time to start reading to your children? Do you need to read yourself to model reading behaviours? What are the better books that children should read? Are some books better than others? Should we encourage or discourage our children to have access to these; classics, modern literature, e-books, audio books, comics and graphic novels?

I hope this can stimulate discussion and ideas to ensure a passion of mine will be a passion of many in the future generations.

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Filed under Early & Emergent Readers, General thoughts, Pre-Readers (Snuggle Books), Proficient Readers, Reading Programs, Reluctant Reader