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.
Regardless if a child is being taught using the Reading Workshop model at school or not it is important to know that highly effective readers talk about books with their friends. Sure, they talk about other things as well like video games, four square, and youtube, but they also talk about the books that they are reading. Why? Because they are really engaged in what they are reading and they are so excited about it, that they want to share that enjoyment with others.
Of course, they only share the good books that they are reading. It is not like sipping someone's drink and saying, "Try this," and once they try it you know they are going to hate it. Kids don't play that game with books. They share what they are enjoying and talk about whether that author has written any other good books.
How do I know this? Well, my daughter Katelyn last year when she was reading The Name of this Book is Secret told me that at recess she and another kid formed a secret club at recess. They would talk about the book and all of the funny things that were happening. She never would have formed this group with this other boy if they hadn't talked about the book. When she told me the name of the kid she formed this secret club with I knew immediately he was an effective reader because I remember him reading Harry Potter in 1st grade.
I would have to say that I have never heard of kids that are not so fond of reading talking about books for fun. So how do they learn about the next new book? Well, it is not going to be done on their own that is for sure. That is where teachers and parents come in. We need to use some of the other resources that I have talked about before to get them excited about new books. Some of them that I mentioned were
1. Book trailers on Youtube
2. Amazon Reviews
Both parents and teachers need to stay up to date on what kids are reading in their child's age group. A great way to do this is to go on Facebook or Twitter and ask people. You can go to scholastic book wizard type in the title and see if it is an appropriate reading level for your child. You certainly don't want to be suggesting a book that is going to be too difficult for your child. They may never trust your opinion again.
My youngest daughter who is in first grade ended up getting 5 books sent home that her teacher thought she might like. Well, my daughter was in the LLI intervention and reading at a level B/C at that time. The teacher sent home books that were at her frustration level and her dad struggled with reading with her that night. In fact, her whole body went limp on the floor. I hadn't paid much attention to the books, but when I worked with her in the morning, I glanced at the books and thought, "Why is her teacher sending home frustration level books?" This certainly doesn't add to a child's self esteem or motivation to read. It adds to resistance that is present and is frustrating for everyone.
Another cool feature about Scholastic's Book wizard is that if you type in a title of a book that your child likes, then you can click on the book alike button. Automatically you will be brought to a page that will show you books that are similar to the book that your child liked.
This is a wonderful place to glance at them and find some suggestions. You can ask your child if she has ever heard of this book before and if it is something that would interest her. If she says yes, then you have a winner. If she says no, then you can begin taking a look at book trailers and flip through the pages of it in Amazon.
It is important to create opportunities that are similar to what highly effective readers do. Kids that are not highly effective readers are never going to talk about books on their own, so we need to create that experience for them.
Do you talk about books with your friends? What are you reading right now?