Maeve Visser Knoth: 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Advice to parents of a reluctant reader

Here's a request I got from one of the staff at our school...

I am wondering if you could do a "book talk" with Julian (a second grader). He likes to read series, and was trying to read Eragon with his parents, but it was too detailed for him.

Here's my follow-up email to Julian's parents:

Julian and I had a good meeting yesterday and below are some of my thoughts and suggestions:

Julian seems interested in lots of different topics and was intrigued by both fiction and non-fiction. Yes, he likes fantasy but it seems as if he also likes long thick books. We talked about this a bit. He is attracted to the longest books on the shelf but admits that he doesn't finish them because it is too hard to keep track of the story. I explained to him that it is often easier to remember details of a story when it is read aloud- he agreed. Maybe the thing to do for a while is read him some long books (not necessarily terribly complex, just long) and encourage him to read more short books so he can get through a lot. One other possibility is to borrow collections- several books or stories bound as one longer book.

The following books should be accessible to him on his own:

Ink Drinkers
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
Owen Foote Soccer Star (and the other books in the series)
The Magic Treehouse series
Half Magic (and the other books by Edward Eager)
Catwings (several very slim books- excellent!)
books by Jamie Gilson
Rats on the Range
Pippi Longstocking
Matilda or other Roald Dahl
biographies by Jean Fritz such as Can't You Make them Behave King George?
books by Seymour Simen (he has read the ones about the human body, but there are many other on non-fiction topics)
poetry by Jack Prelutsky
Tales of Blueland- the three volumes in the My Father's Dragon series are published together in one longer book

I am also putting several booklists in your family folder. I have highlighted things that he might like.

When a child is reluctant to try a new book, I often read aloud the first chapter and leave the book out in a prominent place. If the book sounds at all intriguing, and if the level is reasonable, he will often pick it up and finish it on his own.

Let me know which books are a hit and I'll go from there with more suggestions.