Most Amazing Weekend Ever!!!

Most Amazing Weekend Ever!!!

As an online reading tutor I often don't get to meet the students that I work with.  However, this past weekend I had the opportunity to meet with an astounding student I have been helping since June of 2014.  She lives about 2 hours away from San Jose, California.  This past weekend I happened to be traveling to San Jose for a business function and they were visiting San Jose for a Christmas party.  We decided to meet up at the hotel I was staying at since I didn't have a car and my conference started at 9:00.  We met for breakfast at 8:00 and honestly we could have gone on talking for hours.


Joanne Kaminski and Piper in San Jose, California

People used to ask me if tutoring online was not personal enough for kids.  I used to laugh inside my head at that question because it is absolutely personal.  Just because I can't touch you physically doesn't mean that I can't touch your heart.  As you can see from this lovely picture of the two of us, it looks like we have known each other forever.  I love this girl and the progress she has made and it gave me the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the entire family.

The entire day I was at my conference I was ecstatic because I was able to connect with this amazing child.  All of my students have something special to offer the world and Piper has a shining personality and a never give up attitude that is going to take her very far in life.  She has improved so much in her reading that she no longer needs to go to a reading specialist at her school for additional interventions.  We are continuing to close her non-fiction reading gap, but that will easily come with a little bit more time.

I love that I am able to travel the world, tutor online, and make a difference in kids lives.  After talking with this wonderful family over breakfast, we really got to know each other on a deeper level.  They expressed their gratitude for the work that I have been doing and they shared a special story with me about how Piper does her tutoring.

Piper has her tutoring session at 6:30 am in the morning before school because she is so active after school.  This is perfect for me because of the 2 hour time difference.  I am able to drop off my kids at school a little early and make it home in time to tutor Piper.  Piper sets her alarm on her side to wake up at 6:00 so that she can tutor with me.  Piper's mom doesn't have to ever remind her and she is always at her sessions on time.  Her mom let me know that this is because she is so excited to work with me.  These kind of stories are so touching to me.  They let me know that I am making a difference in another's life and that what I do is valued.  I love that Piper's mom allows Piper to be self-sufficient and gives her the responsibility to do what she needs to do.  This is a mom that really cares about giving her child what she needs and allowing her to be responsible for her own education.

Who knew?  Tutoring online can be fun, personable, and rewarding.  Well, I guess I knew all along since I started this business.  Just not all people believed it could be possible when I first started out.  I am so grateful that I didn't listen to the nay sayers and I followed my dream of teaching struggling readers to become better readers via online tutoring.

What are your thoughts about online tutoring?



9 Great Apps for Teaching Kids to Read

9 Great Apps for Teaching Kids to Read

Nothing excites me more than seeing kids reading books and teaching kids to read.  There are many reading websites for kids and now there are a ton of apps out there as well.  One of my favorite ones is Raz kids reading.  Here is a list of some of my favorite apps out there for the ipad.  Click on the video below to see more information about each of these apps.

1.  Kindle

2.  Raz Kids

3.  Kids Reading Logs

4.  News - O - Matic

5.  Reading Rainbow

6.  Story Botsstorybots

7.  Tick Tack Pippi Kids Speed Reading Game

8.  Epic Books

9.  World's Worst Pet Vocabulary

10 Signs of a Struggling Reader and What You Can do About it

10 Signs of a Struggling Reader and What You Can do About it

You may be one of those people that wonders if your child is struggling with reading.  All kids develop at different rates and each grade level has different
expectations.  Here you are going to learn what signs to look for and identify if your child fits in that category.  You will also have the opportunity to take a look to see what you can do for your child if she is struggling with that area.  At the end of this post there is a video of a call that I did teaching parents what they can do to determine if their child is struggling.  So here are the 10 signs to look for to determine if you indeed have a struggling reader.

1.  They ask you to read something for them.Young man fallen asleep after long reading

2.  They ask you how to spell a word.

3.  They come up with excuses not to read.

4. They read word by word.

5.  They can't answer questions about what they just read.

6.  They don't make comments when they are reading.

7.  They skip words.

8.  They slur words when reading and hope that you don't notice.

9.  They keep asking you the meaning of words.

10.  They read as fast and they can.

We are going to take a look at each of these specifically and figure out what the real problem is and what some solutions are to the problem.

They ask you to read something for them

Now asking you to read something is not a problem unless it seems like they are constantly asking you to do it.  The problem is, they are suffering from a lack of self confidence about their reading.  They don't see themselves as being able to accurately read what is before them.  So you will want to find out specifically why they are asking you to read it for them.

Ask your child why they need you to read it for them.  Is it because they don't know how to read certain words or because they need help understanding a concept?  You will want to delve more into it to determine that.

Another thing you can do is ask your child to read it to you.  That way you can listen to see what the problem seems to be.  You will be able to listen to whether they are struggling with a word or they have a blank look like they aren't understanding a concept.

They ask you how to spell a word

Kids that struggle with reading also struggle with spelling.  Spelling is actually a harder task than reading because it requires you to have mastered the phonics rules, which don't always make sense.  The problem here is also a lack of self confidence.  They don't trust that they can write the word correctly, so they ask you because surely you know how to do it.  Why risk being wrong, when you have the answer.  The thing is, you don't want to be their solution.  You can't travel around with them all day long to help them with their spelling.

So, give your child an opportunity to try it on their own first.  If your child spells it correctly, then you can congratulate her and build up her self confidence.  If it is wrong, then you can write the word the correct way next to it.  Then your child can look for the errors that she made and then write it the correct way.  To give some added practice you can have your child write the word an additional 5 to 10 times to begin to lock in how to spell the word correctly.

They come up with excuses not to read

One of the problems here is motivation.  Your child would rather be doing anything else in the world than reading and the thought of having to read sounds like pure torture.  Find out why your child doesn't want to read, by asking her.  Sometimes it is because they just haven't found the right books yet.  To find books that your child will love, you can go to and type in the search bar "3rd grade books".  Insert your child's grade level or reading level and find some books that other kids their age are enjoying.

Many kids love spending time with their parents.  Some like to snuggle, some like to be close by.  Whatever the situation is for you and your child, next time do it with a book.  You can simply read to your child or switch off from page to page.  This way you can model great reading habits and motivate them more to want to read.

They read word by word

Nothing can sound more monotonous than a child that reads word by word.  The biggest problem here is fluency.  We want reading to sound like we are talking and not to sound robotic.

Repeated readings of the same text can be a way for kids to break this word by word reading pattern.  There are some fun poems on that you can check out.  There are also some poetry theater readings that you can do with your child that can help them with practicing a text for meaning.  Have your child perform the poems to other family members or call grandma and grandpa to listen to it.  The poems will be entertaining for your child, and everyone will laugh.  Making reading fun is a sure way to break that word by word reading.

They can't answer questions about what they just read

The problem here is comprehension.  A child can sound like he or she is a good reader, but not actually be reading to understand.  Being able to sound out words and read them correctly is only part of the reading process.  We want kids to be able to think about what they are reading and make meaning out of it.  A comprehension problem can be based off of not thinking about the words, but it can also be based on not knowing the meaning of words.  Pay attention to what the situation could be for your child.

As you are listening to your child read, have her summarize at the end of a page periodically.  This will give you an opportunity to see if she is processing what she is reading.  If she doesn't know how to do that, then you can model with her when you are reading books to her at night.  After you are done reading a page, then you can summarize what is happening.

They don't make comments when they are reading

As we are reading, we are thinking about what we are reading.  However a child that has no thinking going on during their reading is purely just reading the words and not comprehending the text.  As we are reading many different kinds of thoughts run through our head.  We make statements, such as, "Hmmm...I didn't know that."  We also make predictions about what is going to happen next.  We ask different kinds of questions, and we monitor our reading for understanding.  Lastly, we make connections.  We can make connections between the book and our life, other books, and the world.

This is where reading aloud to your child can help.  It gives you the opportunity to be able to model the thoughts that go through your head when you are reading, so that they can begin to understand what kinds of thoughts could be going through their head when they are reading.

They skip words

The problem here could be phonics or a lack of sight words in their long term memory.  Sometimes kids skip words because they don't want to take the time to figure them out.  Sometimes they are focusing on the next big word that they see.  If you notice that your child is doing this you can have her go back and read it.  If the word is too difficult, then you can help her break it up.

Sometimes though a word cannot be read phonetically, and it just has to be memorized.  To help your child memorize the word, you can collect difficult words on index cards.  On one side write the word.  On the other side you can write a sentence that your child comes up with.  Then you can practice the words that your child has difficulty with and increase her ability to read sight words.

They slur words when they are reading and hope that you don't notice

This is usually a phonics problem.  The child doesn't know the word, so they slur it to try to skip under the radar.  Talk to your child about the importance of reading the sounds distinctly.  This will help her be able to retain the meaning of what she is reading.  Also, make her go back to the word and read it again.  You can try to help her break up the word to read it, or add it to the sight word index cards to practice.

They keep asking the meaning of words

When this happens, the problem is vocabulary.  Your child needs to increase her vocabulary.  An easy way to do this is to speak to your child more.  As adults our vocabularies are much larger than our children, so the more they hear us talk, the more they pick up words and the meanings of words.  It has been proven that children who have parents that talk to them for longer periods during the day have a much larger vocabulary than children who do not.

Make sure to eat dinner together and talk about your days as a family.  Also, the more that you read to your child, the more words that he or she will pick up accidentally.  The more opportunities that you provide for your child to hear new words the better.  There has been no research that shows kids learn new vocabulary words from watching t.v., so limit tube time and exchange it for you time.

They read as fast as they can

Again, this is a fluency problem.  The child has gotten in their head that the faster they read, the better reader they are, and this just isn't true.  There are different times when reading fast is necessary.  For example, when you need to quickly skim and scan to find an answer.  However, to read as fast as you can just so that you can be done quicker has never proven to help out with overall comprehension, so have her slow down and really take in what she is reading.

Motivation could be another factor here as well.  So whenever you have the opportunity to provide choices for your child, you will want to do so.  Kids choosing what they want to read has always been a huge motivator to slow down and understand what they are reading.

For more tips on each of these signs you can watch the video below.  Is there a sign that you have noticed from your child, and you are wondering if they have a problem?  Let me know, and we can brainstorm some solutions that might help.


Making Connections: The 7th Habit of Highly Effective Readers

Making Connections: The 7th 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 7 Habits of Highly Effective Readers and will give you information on what you can do to create an avid reader.


Highly effective readers make 3 kinds of connections when they are reading.  These connections are called text to self, text to text, and text to world.  Any book a child is reading is considered text.  Let's take a deeper look at what these connections are.

Text to self connections

Text to self connections occurs when a reader is reading something and all of a sudden the student thinks, "Oh, that has happened to me before."  The reader is connecting on a personal level with what she is reading.  For children where this does not happen as naturally, they need an adult that can ask these kinds of questions.

1.  Has that ever happened to you before?  Tell me about it.

2.  Which character do you feel most like?  Why?

3.  How did you feel when that happened to you?  How do you feel about it now.

Being able to use text to self connections allows a reader to make better predictions about what is going to happen next in the story.  They can think back to their own situation and see if what happens next is similar to what happened to them.

Text to text connections

These connections are all about making connections with other books that the child has read.  The other day I was reading a book in RAZ-Kids, and it had the same pattern as Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle.  Since the child was unfamiliar with Brown Bear, Brown Bear I was able to introduce that book to him as well.  Sometimes books are familiar for the following reasons:

1.  Same pattern

2.  Same author, series, or writing style

3.  Similar plot

4.  Similar book layout

5.  Same genre

By making connections with other books readers are able to learn more about how different genres are written, specific author techniques, and so much more.  It gets the reader thinking beyond just the words that he/she is reading.  This is helpful for developing the difficult skill of inferencing, or what my teachers used to call it, reading between the lines.  Making these kinds of connections are not just right there kinds of connections.  They take a separate approach to being developed.  Here are some suggestions to get kids to begin making connections between books.  Image 11-7-13 at 9.44 AM

1.  Read two similar books

2.  As you are reading the second book guide the reader in making connections between the two books.

3.  Compare the two books using a Venn Diagram.  Where the two circles overlap you can write how the books are similar.  In the outer area of the circle you can put how they are different.


Text to World Connections

These connections are comparing things that are happening in our world currently.  Kids can often be cut off from the realities of the world, and this is the toughest type of connection to make.  A great book to use to teach about homelessness and what that can be like is Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting.  This book talks about a little boy who lives at an airport because his father and himself are homeless.  These kinds of books are helpful with developing compassion in children for them to be aware of other situations that out there.

Schools really focus on presidential elections every four years.  This is a good time to read books about elections, past presidents, and compare and contrast it to what is on going on today.  Again this can also be done a Venn Diagram format.

When kids are connecting with what they are reading, they are thinking.  Reading is all about thinking and engaging with the text.  It is not just accepting at face value what an author says to be the end of the experience.  By making connections we are helping kids to be thoughtful, careful, readers.

Do you notice yourself making connections when you are reading?  How does it effect your reading?





Making Predictions: The 7th Habit of Highly Effective Readers

Making Predictions: The 7th 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.


Before a scientist ever begins an experiment he always makes a hypothesis.  This means that he makes an educated guess about what the outcome is going to be.  -scientist-151186_640Why is this?  Well it drives the whole experiment.  It motivates the scientist to start the experiment and continues to motivate the scientist throughout as he is able to determine how accurate he was.  Throughout the experiment the scientist continues to come back to that hypothesis and decide if he wants to keep it, or change it.  When he sees how his hypothesis is being validified he becomes excited and as he sees how it is different from his original thinking he is intrigued even more.

Highly effective readers do the same exact thing, but in reading it is called a prediction.  These readers make these predictions because it motivates them to validify if what they predicted is true and it intrigues them when it veers off from what they think is true.

Predictions also get the reader's mind to become engaged with the text she is going to read right off the bat.  In order to make a prediction a reader usually looks at

1.  The title

2.  The cover picture

3.  The table of contents

4.  The book summary on the front flap, back flap or the back cover.

After using all of this information the reader makes a prediction about what the story is going to be about.  I have witnessed many readers who go into this process without making a prediction, and they also struggle with reading.  When you ask them what they think it will be about, they respond with, "I don't know."  These readers need more guidance in how to make a prediction.  Using the list above you can begin to model the things that go through your mind as you see the them.

I will give an example of what that modeling would look like with the book Monster by Walter Dean Myers.  The front of the cover shows a young boy that is in jail.  I can tell that he is in jail because if you look at the back of the cover they show a side profile with numbers on the bottom.  Based just off of this cover and the title I can make a prediction that this book is going to be about a young man that is going to jail for a crime that he possibly committed, and he is seen as a monster because of what he did.  This is a good enough prediction for this time.  As the story proceeds I will continue to make more predictions about the book and see if they come true as well.  This makes the reading more exciting, especially when the predictions are true.

Another place highly effective readers make predictions is before they begin to read a chapter.  This is a natural place to begin to think about what is going to happen next and to back up why they believe it is going to happen.  This is a continual process throughout reading the book.

Sometimes authors leave off the ending of a book, then the reader is left to determine what happens next.  Some people enjoy this and others do not.  Whichever your take happens to be, you can use this to get the reader talking about what their prediction would be.  Who knows, maybe the author will write another story and the child's prediction will come true.

Do you find it exciting when your predictions come true when you are reading a book and intrigued when they don't?  I would love to hear what you have to say about making predictions.

Comprehension Strategies: The 7th Habit of Highly Effective Readers

Comprehension Strategies: The 7th 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.


I can't believe that we are already onto the last habit.  Where has the time gone?  Well, this is a big one.  See highly effective readers don't just read words and see a blank picture.  They actually think about what they are reading.  They utilize different strategies so that they can really make meaning when they are reading.  Here are the strategies that we are going to feature.  Highly effective readers

  1. use background knowledge to make sense about what they are reading.-human-20424_640
  2. make predictions before and after reading
  3. visualize what is happening in the story
  4. ask questions
  5. make connections
  6. evaluate which part of the story they like and don’t like

Today we are going to focus on how these readers use background knowledge to make sense of what they are reading.  It begins the moment that the highly effective reader picks up a book.  The reader brings background knowledge to the following areas of what they are going to read.

1.  What do they know about the genre?  Have they read from this genre before?  How is this genre set up?

2.  What experiences do they have that resonate with the front cover?

3.  What do they know about the topic?

4.  What beliefs does the reader have?

5.  What correct and incorrect facts does the reader have?

Having background knowledge about a topic a highly effective reader is about to read is not the only thing that she brings to a text before she begins reading.  She brings other background knowledge that will effect how she interprets the text.

One thing a highly effective reader brings to the text is knowledge about the genre she is about to read.  Highly effective readers have read from several different kinds of genres.  That way when they come to a how to non-fiction book, they are able to bring their understanding about how the author laid out the content.  For example, one would expect to see materials or ingredients that are needed.  The reader would also see steps to how to do what is being explained and then some sort of a conclusion.  Readers that are not familiar with this genre may skip reading certain areas because they are not aware of how the content is organized and why it is organized that way.

Specific experiences that the reader has had in her lifetime that resonate with the title or the front cover influence a reader when she is reading.  Highly effective readers use this information properly, but readers that are not as effective will bring experiences that are distracters vs. enhancers into their reading experience.

Before a highly effective reader begins reading a book, they usually look at the title and front cover to think if they have ever encountered this information before.  Highly effective readers will be open to learn new information, but not so effective readers may think they know everything already.  These ineffective readers will actually point out that they do not need to learn anything else about the topic, whereas effective readers will be curious about what new information they may learn.

Also, background knowledge consists of beliefs that a reader has about a topic.  It is amazing listening to kids who spend time listening to their parents about presidential elections.  As soon as a reader sees a book with the title Barack Obama they bring these belief systems with them into the reading that they are going to read.  The effective readers may stay true to their stance and not allow the book to persuade them.  Other kinds of readers bring these beliefs with them as well, but they may allow the author to persuade them more based on how strongly they hold their beliefs.  The effective reader may be comparing these beliefs throughout the reading and agreeing and disagreeing throughout.  However, the ineffective reader may be just reading the words and not allowing themselves to interact with the text in that way.  They just read what they are told and may be able to give some information at the end.  They have difficulty talking about what their beliefs are and comparing them.

All readers are going to bring with them correct and incorrect facts if they have any background knowledge about a topic.  However, what a highly effective reader does with these facts and what a less effective reader does is completely different.  Highly effective readers will be able to come up with strategies to either verify if what they knew before was really accurate or could have been a mistake.  Then they are able to take the meaning from the text and still be able to tell you what it was about.

A less effective reader will take their incorrect concepts and keep them, regardless if those facts were mentioned in the book or not.  For example, if a child is asked why do people run races before reading a story, they may answer because people like exercising.  But if they then read the text and it is about a race between two trains and they are asked again why do people run races according to the text, they may answer, "Because they like to exercise."  These kinds of readers have a hard time adapting this question to the information that was presented in the passage they read, and they stick to what they said in the beginning.  While this information may be correct before they read the passage, it is incorrect after they read the passage because the race had nothing to do with exercising.

Background knowledge certainly can aid or hinder readers from understanding what they are reading.  A lack of background knowledge will cause confusion for a reader, as well as incorrect background knowledge.  Asking a child before she reads what her background knowledge is will help you determine how you can help her with interpreting the text.

How does background knowledge help you as a reader?


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?

Highly Effective Readers Know what they Like to Read – 3rd Habit of Highly Effective Readers

Highly Effective Readers Know what they Like to Read – 3rd 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.


Picking out just right books is easy when you know what you like to read.  These readers will attract more of these books into their life because they enjoy reading them.  For me I enjoy reading personal development books and books that help me understand more about how to run my business effectively.  These books fall under the non-fiction genre.  Did you know that most of the reading that adults partake in is actually non-fiction.  However, young children spend most of their years reading fiction.  A big piece of that is because it is part of what they like and there is nothing wrong with that.

Not only do highly effective readers know that they like to read fiction, but they narrow it down even further.  They even know the genre they enjoy the most.  Here are some different genre's for fiction books.

1.  Mystery-witchs-house

2.  Realistic

3.  Historical

4.  Fairy Tales

5. Suspense

6. Fantasy

7.  Folk Tales

8.  Tall Tales

9. Fables

10. Adventure

11. Science Fiction

12. Humorous

13.  Graphic Novels

14.  Animal

15. Mythology

16. Short Story

I have found that highly effective readers are even willing to explore other genres as well and are open minded.  However, once they give it a try and realize they don't really like that genre, they will stay away from it because there are so many other great books out there to explore.

Some highly effective readers, particularly boys, enjoy non-fiction books over fiction.  Here are the different genres for non-fiction books.

1.  Biography

2.  Autobiography-newspaper

3.  Informational

4.  Cookbooks

5.  How to

6.  Reference books

7.  Essay

8.  Speech

9.  Newspaper

10. Diaries and Journals

11. Reviews

Highly effective readers also are willing to challenge themselves with longer books than their comfort zone would normally choose.  Other readers will use the size of a books to deter them from reading it.  They might give these kinds of excuses before even trying it.

1.  It's too long.

2.  The words are too small.

3.  There aren't any pictures.

These kinds of things do not deter the highly effective reader.  They actually may work for them, because they enjoy the challenge more.  This may be because they aren't challenged enough and less effective readers are frequently challenged.  So they prefer to pick easier books when it is time for them to read for pleasure.

What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?


Highly Effective Readers Don’t Just Collect Books, They Read Them

Highly Effective Readers Don’t Just Collect Books, They Read Them

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.


Have you ever walked into a house and seen someone who had a ton of candles and none of them had actually been lit?  We call these kind of people dusters instead bright-72804_640of burners.  It is the same thing with books.  Kids that are highly effective readers are like these candles, they are burners.  They burn through books like there is no tomorrow.  The only books that are collecting dust are the ones that they have already read, but they are not willing to give them up because they have connected with these books.

Kids that are dusters instead of burners when it comes to books really need role models in their life that will continue to read with them and motivate them to pick up books.  How do we instill kids to light that wick?  Here are 15 simple ideas that might just energize them to wipe off that dust and dare to enter a brand new world.

1.  Read with your child.  Pick a book to read together and have your child read one page and you read one page.

2.  Be the role model and read books you enjoy for pleasure when your child is watching.  Kids often want to be like their parents even though they may not admit it to you.

3.  Get to know your child as a reader.  Find out what your child likes and dislikes.  Does your child prefer fiction or non-fiction?  What genre does your child like?  What are the most popular books for kids that are your child's age group.

4. Take your child to meet an author.  There is nothing cooler than meeting an author.  It is like they are a celebrity and it amps the game of reading even more.

5.  Visit author sites and see what they have to say about books.  If you can't actually meet an author, the next best thing is learning about them online at their website, facebook, or blog.

6.  Watch book trailers on YouTube.  These are just the coolest thing.  Go ahead an try it for any book and see what comes up.  All you need to do is put the title of the book and then book trailer.  For example, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid book trailer."

7.  Write a list of your favorite books growing up and think about what your child would connect with most.  Talk about with your child why it was one of your favorite books.

8.  Ask your child what books the other kids in the class are reading.  Books become popular for a reason, because they are good.  Kids want to read books that are good, so if you educate yourself as to what those books are, then you will that much closer to having a burner instead of a duster.

9.  Before your child picks out a book to buy, make sure it is at his/her reading level.  Check the post from yesterday about the five finger rule.

10. Go through the books in your house with your child and weed out the books he/she has no interest in reading.  There is no reason to hold onto books that are not going to get read.  You can donate them to a family member, library, or Goodwill.

11.  Take your child to the library with the goal of only picking out 1 book that they will invest the next couple of weeks reading.  Kids who are dusters like to go to the library and pick out tons more books without actually reading them.

12.  Join a book club at the library.  This is all about accountability.  When we are accountable to doing something we are more likely to actually do it.  Discussing books with others is a great way to hold a child accountable to finish it.

13.  Teach your child how to use reviews on Amazon.  Books that have low reviews may need some extra consideration as to why your child wants to read it.  Take the time to learn more about that book if they still show interest.

14.  Stay calm when your child complains about reading and doesn't want to do it.  If your child sees there is a battle with reading, they will try to win it.  The last thing you want from a duster is resistance.

15. Always make it seem like reading something is their choice vs. something that they have to do.  Kids aren't often given enough choices.  They are usually told what they need to do.  If they feel that reading is their choice, then they are going to be more apt to do it.

It all comes down to taking an active role in your child's reading life.  Life can be very full at times for parents with work and raising a family.  There is always more that we can do to help our kids with reading.  By surrounding them with reading and reading activities, they are more influenced to pick up a book than to pick up the next xbox game.

What are some things that you do to motivate your child to read?