Highly Effective Readers Like to Read out Loud: The 6th Habit of Highly Effective Readers

Highly Effective Readers Like to Read out Loud: The 6th Habit of Highly Effective Readers

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.


Did you know that highly effective readers actually like reading out loud?  They like the way they sound when they start reading out loud, and they volunteer to read in class because they love to read.  What makes them want to read?  Well, for starters, they understand the purpose of punctuation.  Ask a kid, who is not a highly effective reader, what a comma is for and they will answer with, "I don't know."

Here are all of the things that a highly effective reader does when it comes to reading out loud.

1.  Raise their hand to read out loud

2.  Reads with expression

3.  Follows the rules for punctuation

Let's take a look at what is all involved with raising your hand to read out loud.  First a child that raises their hand to read has a lot of self confidence in their reading-raising hand abilities.  Raising their hand means that they are risk takers.  They don't sit and worry what is going to happen if they don't get the word correct.  They are confident that they will be able to figure it out and are willing to take a helping hand if they need it.  They don't personalize the mistake and use it as evidence that they are not a very good reader.  They realize that all readers mess up on words once in a while.

This is where the Matthew effect comes in.  Have you ever head of the idea, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?  Well, it comes into play with reading as well.  Since there are these readers that are highly effective and are willing to raise their hand because they are confident in their abilities, other kids will get less reading time in the classroom.

So what can we do to make all readers feel comfortable to raise their hand to read?

1.  Don't allow others to give away the word unless asked. Asking for help needs to be a strategy and not something that we do to readers who can't figure it out.

2. Have your child read out loud at home.  This can be done with a parent reading one page and the adult reading another page.  If you are looking for ideas on how to do this you can get 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: Increasing your struggling reader's reading level.

3. If your child messes up on a word, say, "Try again."  This doesn't make them feel bad, and it gets them thinking about the right word and what would make sense with any arguments.

4.  Praise the child on the things they are doing well when they read out loud so they can begin to see how well they really are.  When we are helping kids we have the opportunity to build up or tear down.  Focus on your responses on 4 positive things to every 1 helpful idea to improve and get better.  Kids who get too much criticism (as they view it) are less likely to view themselves in a positive light.

Kids that are already highly effective readers are already receiving praises for what a great reader they are.  So they don't need more praises, but kids that don't see themselves in this light do need it.

What kinds of things do you do help other readers build their self confidence in their reading abilities?


Highly Effective Readers Read Often and Not Because they are Told they Have To

Highly Effective Readers Read Often and Not Because they are Told they Have To

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.

  1. Perfect practice makes perfect
  2. They talk about the books they are reading with their friends
  3. They read books that their friends are reading
  4. They read all over the place
  5. When you ask them to do something they tell you they will do it when they finish the chapter
  6. 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.Joanne IMG_8665

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?

Free Copy of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: Increasing your struggling reader’s reading level

Free Copy of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: Increasing your struggling reader’s reading level

I am trying out rafflecopter for the first time and am doing a giveaway of my book 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: Increasing your struggling reader's reading Joanne IMG_8654level.  This is the actual hard copy of the book and not just an ebook.  Not only that, but I will even personally sign this book for you as well.

Doing a Rafflecopter giveaway is a really a cool way to reward people for helping you spread the word about your raffle because you give your potential winners different points for doing certain actions.  For instance, if you like the Skyping Reading Tutor on my facebook page, then you are going to get 3 points in the raffle.  If you tweet about my giveaway, then you will get another 3 points.  (The best part is that you can get these points every time you tweet about it, but only one entry per day counts).    Just by entering your favorite quote from a children's book you will get +2 points, and by following me on Twitter you will get another 2 points.   The more points that you have the better your chances are for winning.  You absolutely have nothing to lose.  So click on a Rafflecopter giveaway and get a chance to win your very own signed copy of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: Increasing your struggling reader's reading level.  

Have you used rafflecopter before?  How did it work for you if you did?  If you didn't how could it be useful for your campaigns?


How the Reading Process and the Editing Process are Alike

How the Reading Process and the Editing Process are Alike

Over the holiday weekend I have been experiencing much joy in my life.  I have been remembering all of the things that I am grateful for and focusing on completing the editing stage of my book 31 Days to Become a Better Reader.  As I have been editing the book, it dawned on me how similar the self-monitoring tactics I teach to children in my online tutoring program are similar to the editing process.  Those strategies are:

  • Does it look right?
  • Does it sound right?
  • Does it make sense?

In my book I mention these strategies on Day 5.  Let’s take a closer look at what this looks like in the reading process and compare it to the writing process.

Does it Look Right?

In reading if I say a word that was not written on the page, then I need to think does that look right.  I can use the beginning of the word to make an initial decision and then move onto the end of the word and the middle.

As I was editing my book, thinking does it look right was extremely pivotal.  Amazon has expectations when a book is sent in about the size of the margins and font.  I even needed to pay close attention to the space at the end of a page and check with the alignment on the top.

My Table of Contents was one of those things that I saved for last because I knew that the page numbers would change.  However, I had difficulty with the page alignment with the chapter numbers and the chapter title.  I needed to call in my resource of call a friend and she helped me fix it.

Sometimes when we are reading we are able to fix our mistakes.  However, there are times when you just can’t figure out a word and you need to ask someone for help.

Does it sound right?

When we are reading we want to make sure that we are reading the way the author wrote it.  This means that the author needs to take special care to make sure that the sentences are grammatically correct.  If it doesn’t make sense, then we need to go back to read it if we are the reader, or go back and reword it if we are the editor/writer.

Does it Make Sense?

Many times struggling readers will read words that don’t sound like real words.  They need to think themselves if that is a word they have heard of or not.  The tricky part is sometimes the child reads the word correctly, but because she is not familiar with the meaning of the word, she second guesses herself.

During the editing process I found that I need to read my work out loud and check for any errors I may have made.  I found that I had several errors that I had not caught previously.  Thank goodness for that red squiggly line that alerts one to these errors.  I had a few spelling errors that are similar to the errors a reader makes when reading a made up word.

Writing a book from start to finish opened my eyes to the entire reading/writing process more than it ever has before.  In the schools many people are utilizing Lucy Calkins method of teaching writing.  This woman is spot on and she teaches children to edit for one thing at a time.  I found that in editing my book that I needed to focus on one part at a time.  For example, I looked for page alignment throughout the whole text, matching table of contents with my chapter titles, and so on and so forth.

The reading and the writing process are so closely aligned that it is important to marry the two and only focus on one thing at a time.  If we try to focus on everything, then eventually our minds will become frazzled.  Sometimes we need to take it one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one page at a time, or one chapter at a time.  However we decide to go about we always need to remember to keep it simple.

Law of Attraction in Action

Law of Attraction in Action


Law of Attraction in ActionHave you ever wanted something so bad that you could smell, feel, and experience it as if you had already had it? If so, then you have experienced the law of attraction in action.

I have had this experience a few times in my life and I am currently going through it right now. I have been working on a book through my blog called, 31 Days to a Better Reader. I have found the tools that I thought I was going to use and then I found a system that would not only help me publish, but to also promote my book. There was just one tiny problem. I can't afford the system. So my brain began brainstorming all of the ways that I could scrimp and save and then a new way was revealed.

The creator of the program is having a contest. One lucky winner is going to win. Well, I don't usually enter contests. I didn't let that stop me though. I found out all of the rules and regulations and have created a video to enter the contest.

Now comes the law of attraction part. I have been picturing myself winning this contest. There is going to be an announcement on Oct. 11, which is tomorrow. Here I will find out if I win. I have been picturing my name being announced. I have felt what it feels like to win and I am prepared to win.

I have pictured myself in Mike Koenigs studio producing my commercials for my products and services. I have pictured shaking his hand. I even have created this image in my children's brains because they are better at the law of attraction than I am. Sometimes I let fear and anxiety get in the way and they do not know what that is.

I also believe that when multiple people can envision this for you that you also have a better chance. So here is where I need you. Can you picture me winning this contest and send positive thought and feedback in the comments section. Let me know if I can ever help to put the law of attraction into action for you and I will do the same.

P.S. If you would like to help me win, please watch the video and LIKE it on YouTube.


Video from Author Expert Marketing Machine Contest

Day 31 of the 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Book Recommendations

Day 31 of the 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Book Recommendations

Do you have a bookshelf that looks like this?

20121009-091240.jpgOr, possibly you have a book shelf that looks like this.


Either way, you need a system to be able to figure out what you are going to read next and so does your child. Hence the idea of book recommendations. I rely a lot on recommendations because I value my time. I especially like when there are those stars and I can quickly glance and see if the book is something that I want to read. I won't waste my time if there is a book with just one star, but I am certainly convinced more if there are five.

I don't put all of my eggs into the rating system, but it does certainly create more interest for me. You too can help people and teach your child to help people with choosing the next great book they may be considering reading.
I like to leave feedback on www.shelfari.com. This is a nice website by Amazon that actually shows a bookshelf with books that you have read and you can write a review here. You may be thinking that you are not sure how write a book review. If that is you, then do not fret. I am here to help you out.

How to write a book recommendation

Write whether you enjoyed the book or not.
Explain why you enjoyed the book.
What was your favorite or the part that you connected with the most.
Who should read this book and how will it benefit him/ her.

That's it, it is that easy. You can practice writing a book review in the comments section, I would love to see what I need to put on my bookshelf to read next. Your opinion matters to me. I would also like to know what books I need to put on my children's bookshelf, so list those reviews as well.

Day 30 of 31 Days to a Better Reader: Predictions

Day 30 of 31 Days to a Better Reader: Predictions

Have you ever hung around someone who was a book or movie spoiler?  You know the one.  You tell him/her that you are going to read a book or see a movie and they proceed to tell you all about it.  Not only that, they even tell you how it ends.


Well, don’t worry.  I am not going to be a spoiler and I am not going to teach you how to be a spoiler.  What we are going to focus on today is how to make predictions about how the book is going to end.  This will add excitement to it instead of ruining it for you, I promise.


So far we have looked at making predictions before we decide to read a book, we have made predictions about what the book was going to be about, we have checked our predictions, and we have made predictions about what is going to happen next.  Now, we get to make predictions on how the book that you are reading with your child is going to end.


In Science this is called a hypothesis.  In reading it is called making a prediction.  The process is very similar and very scientific.  Here are the steps.


  1. Think about what you know about the characters.
  2. Think about what you know about the problem in the story.
  3. Think about how past problems have been solved in the story.
  4. Think about how this author writes.  Does he or she tend to be easily predictable or lead you away from figuring things out and surprise you?


After you have analyzed and thought about each of these questions you are ready to begin thinking how this story is going to end.  Go ahead, take a guess.  It’s o.k. to be wrong.  I am wrong a lot when I make a prediction.  Like I said, making a prediction is like a hypothesis.  It is not a psychic reading with a crystal ball.  As more details are given you can change your prediction, so you don’t have to stay locked into what you think will happen.


P.S. In the comment section please share what book you are reading, or reading with your child and share a prediction.

Day 29 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Fluctuation

Day 29 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Fluctuation

Have you ever heard someone singing a song at the same exact note for the entire piece?  Of course not, it wouldn’t be music to anyone’s ears if they did.  That is kind of what reading at the same tone is.  It is not music to anyone’s ears.  So, we need to make our voices fluctuate and go up and down like we do when we are having a conversation or singing a song.


We have all heard children read in the most monotone voice ever, with no feeling and grasping to get the words correct.  How good it feels when those kids add their own personality in their reading, but how tedious to listen to when they revert back to monotoneness (I made that word up, but it seemed to really fit here).


We have taken a look at stopping appropriately at punctuation and making our voice go up in certain spots with question marks and exclamation points.  Now, we need to take a look at the other places where our voices go up and down.


The first thing to do is examine your own reading.  Do you read like you talk or sing, or are you kind of monotone yourself?  Some people read with great expression and some do not.  While you are reading with your child, you really want it to sound more like a conversation when you are reading instead of just reading every word in one tone or note.


Our kids will model the way that we read.  It is amazing how when my first daughter started reading, she started with the most amazing fluctuation in her reading, because that is all she knew.  She listened to her mom read since she was in the womb and I don’t know how to read without expression.    I found that with reading with other kids, they tap into my energy very quickly.  If I am enthusiastic about what I am reading, then they mimic that enthusiasm in their own reading.  Modeling is KEY!  So being aware of your own reading is the first step.


The second step is to recognize when the child you are reading with does make his/her voice go up and down.  Praise him/her for it.  I promise you, he or she will remember what you are praising and continue to produce that for you.


The third step is to go back to highlighting the words that go up green and the words that seem to go down red.  This will make it visual for your child to see what is happening.  You can do this with an e-book or a book that you own.  For obvious reasons do not try this strategy with a library book.  LOL


Go ahead and make reading a musical experience for everyone’s ears.  Make your voice go up and down, and encourage your child when his/her voice goes up and down.


P.S. Go start your musical reading experience.  I am rooting for you all the way.

Day 28 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: The Little Words

Day 28 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: The Little Words


One of the biggest questions I get asked is whether the little words matter when it comes to a child’s reading fluency or accuracy.  For example, the words a and the are often misread for each other and some reading instructors and parents will make sure the child goes back and fixes that mistake.  The biggest thing to be conscious of is the needs of the child.  If the child makes frequent mistakes when reading, then my focus is not going to be on the little words that do not change meaning.  However, if when the child is reading and the word he/she has put in does change the meaning, then I will have him or her go back and read it.


Since I mentioned that you will want to take into consideration the needs of the child, I have listed 4 different types of children below.  Determine which child seems like yours and then follow the suggestion for whether your focus should be on the little words or not.


Child A – Makes few errors has a high self-esteem – Absolutely have the child go back and read the word correctly.  He/she rarely makes a mistake and it won’t hurt his/her self-esteem.


Child B – Makes few errors has a low self-esteem – This is a tricky one.  While this child does not seem to make a lot of mistakes, their self esteem could be affected.  You are probably better off not worrying about it.


Child C – Makes a ton of errors and has a high-self esteem – If it changes the meaning of the text, have the child go back and reread it.  If it does not, then don’t worry about it.


Child D – Makes a ton of errors and has a low self-esteem – Definitely do not  bring a lot of attention to it.  You can say, “Try again” in the nicest voice possible or focus on the bigger words that seem to be inaccurate.  Also you want to base it off of why the child is reading it incorrectly.  Many times our eyes are focused on the next word instead of the word that we are actually reading.  So a child may know how to read a word, but read it incorrectly because of where he/she is putting his/her attention.


This is definitely a case by case and situation by situation call.  You want to remember that if you are constantly pointing out all of the words that a child is reading incorrectly, they will never go back and try to read it correctly on his/her own.  Also, his/her self-esteem will eventually take a beating and push the child into a state of resistance.  If you have ever tried to teach a resistant child, then you know what I mean.


For today, just be aware if your child is reading those little words incorrectly.  Take a note of how you respond to it and then check to see if it seems to be on par with the suggestions from above.


P.S. It is really hard to change old habits, like constantly correcting our children when they read incorrectly.  When you feel like you want to correct them, but you know you shouldn’t, take a deep breath and picture your mouth closed with peanut butter.

Day 27 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Identifying with a Character

Day 27 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Identifying with a Character


What do Harry Potter and Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid have in common?  Well kids can identify with the main character and get to explore the world through their eyes.


I was just volunteering my time today in an amazing class called Team Bond 3rd Grade.  They are in Walled Lake, MI and they were describing their favorite books to me.  They happened to include Harry Potter and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Why?  Well, it is pretty simple.  These kids love to explore new worlds through a different lens.  Sometimes that lens is one that we can really identify with, like the relationship between Greg and his family.  Sometimes that lens is not one we can identify with, but the world is so magical that we would love to be a part of it.


Whatever kids reasons for identifying with characters in a book are, kids will continue to pick up books with those characters again and again if they can identify or want to identify with them.  Why is this important?  This is why kids read.  If there isn’t an identification process, then there isn’t an interest.  If there isn’t an interest, then there is no reason to continue reading.  It is time to abandon the book and move on to a new one.


When I was a little girl I believed that there was this thing called magical paint.  You could use it to paint yourself and then no one would see you.  Because of my magical paint reference, I could really identify with Harry Potter and his invisible cloak.  I not only envied Harry Potter, but I wanted to jump into the book and get one of those invisible cloaks for myself.  I loved experiencing the world when Harry was in his invisible cloak.


Now Greg Heffley is just your everyday middle school kid.  He is not too popular, but he is not completely unpopular.  He is friends with Holly.  Anyway, I think that since most of us fit in the middle, we can definitely relate to Greg.  He has a mean big brother.  I had one too.  (Still do, lol)  However, there are times when they seem to get along.  Greg’s little brother is totally annoying and older kids with younger siblings can definitely relate to the trials and tribulations that Greg suffers on a day to day basis.


These two characters are believable, likable, and identifiable.  Every kid is going to have his/her own reasons why he/she connects with these characters.  No two kids will relate for the same exact reasons.  That is why today’s strategy of identifying with a character from the book is so much fun.  It gives your child the opportunity to think about what life would be like to be in the shoes of that character.  Great readers, do this automatically.  This is why they fall in love with reading so much.


I just recently turned a boy who would rather be playing video games onto the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and this boy now wants to read every single Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.  Why, because they both have a love of video games.  That’s right, this kid is able to identify with the life of the character because they enjoy the exact same things.  Guess what, in just 3 short weeks that boy finished the first book almost completely on his own.  Thank you Jeff Kinney for turning boys who love video games into lovers of your books.


Today with your child ask what character he/she identifies with and share which one you identify with and explain why.


P.S If you are reading a non-fiction book, you are off the hook today.


P.P.S Did you know that the smartest people in the world read non-fiction books everyday?