Well, it is that time of year again. My kids are off to school and I am excited to begin writing a brand new book. I will be creating the book through this blog and you will have free access to all of it’s content here. This book/blog series is called Seven Habits of Highly Effective Readers and will give you information on what you can do to create an avid reader.
Today we begin the 4th habit of highly effective readers, which is that they read often and not because they are told to. In fact here are some thoughts that all play a
role in their frequency.
- Perfect practice makes perfect
- They talk about the books they are reading with their friends
- They read books that their friends are reading
- They read all over the place
- When you ask them to do something they tell you they will do it when they finish the chapter
- They read for pleasure
The focus today is going to be how perfect practice makes perfect. As we have seen in earlier posts, highly effective readers are able to pick out just right books, they have favorite authors, they are motivated to read and so they read a lot.
However, there is something that is really important to point out. Highly effective readers are effective because they take part in perfect practice. See, they have the freedom to choose books that they love, read when they want to, pronounce words correctly, and determine the meaning of new words.
So one of the most misunderstood practices that teachers place on all kids is that if they practice reading they will just magically get good at it. This may be true, but what if when a child is approaching a text on their own and they continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Well, then they are just strengthening the neuropathways in their brain to learn words incorrectly. Then it becomes difficult to retrain the child's brain to read it correctly.
My suggestion instead of sending off all kids to read independently on their own is to make sure struggling readers have somebody by them that can be helpful. In my book 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: Increasing struggling reader's reading levels I suggest picking out a book with an adult and each the child and parent switch reading roles from page to page. I also give tips on how to help a child when they struggle with reading certain words or don't know the meanings of words. It is as if you had a reading specialist right there with you and your child while you are reading together.
See imperfect practice does not make perfect. So we shouldn't put kids in a situation where they will be practicing imperfectly. Of course, these kids can read just right books independently, but often times kids are sent home with books that are too difficult or they may personally choose to read a book that is to difficult. It is during these times that you will want to fully support them, so that they do not practice imperfectly. Every child deserves to practice perfectly.
How can you help a child practice reading?