Category Archive for 'Parent Tips'


Monday, February 18th, 2019

Originally posted 2017-08-28 07:40:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What to do with a reluctant reader

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Some students tend to put up a struggle when they are asked to spend time reading. Has this ever happened with one of your students? They resist reading when asked, they don’t volunteer to read, they shun the 20-minutes per night recommended reading, and they might tend to gravitate to screens instead (TV, movies, games, tables, etc.).

This struggle keeps your students from enjoying reading, and what’s worse, keeps them from practicing reading and getting better. There’s no avoiding reading in this world, and life is a lot easier when students can draw from a toolbox of reading skills.

If any of this sounds like someone in your family, here are a few ideas to consider.

You must win

If you have a strong-willed child, it’s going to be frustrating, but there are certain battles that you MUST win. No questions asked. And reading is one of them. It’s got to be on your student’s to do list every school night, and he must not think it’s ever optional or something he can argue his way out of. It’s too important to skip and your student is running out of runway. There’s only one more year before your student takes flight into middle school. Now’s the time to boost reading levels before things start moving really fast in 6th grade.

Make it a habit

So the first step would be to add a 20-minute block of reading. I think before bed is a great time to do this. Fifth graders are not too old to read to sometimes, or to have them read aloud to parents. But a lot of the time students should read by themselves. If you’re not sure your student is  reading, then at the end of the time, look over the pages they read and ask a few questions.

If it’s clear they are not reading, just fake reading, then I guess they need to read aloud to a parent for 20 minutes every night until you can trust them. It might be a pain and it will take up some time you could be doing something else. But this will help build a habit and show you mean business. Another way to do this would be to have your student read into a voice recorder or a cell phone app that is recording their voice so that you know they’re reading.

What to read?

Anything that your student chooses and fits their reading level. If she doesn’t have ideas, you could suggest things.

Create a love of reading

Reading should be fun. People naturally love stories. We love movies. We should love books. Maybe your student just needs to be shown this. One way to start is to choose an interesting book and read it together every day for 10-15 minutes. You could read it aloud and she would follow along. You could show your enthusiasm and read it in an interesting way. Stop to ask questions or show your curiosity (what do you think will happen next? will they catch the bad guy? I can’t believe they stole the jewel! etc.). When she sees you having fun, she’ll have fun and that will make her like reading more.

Trading books for screens

But if you need something with rewards and consequences, here’s an idea that uses tokens to trade reading for TV/game time:

He, too, is a parent and he, too, has tried to limit his kids’ access to their devices and to increase their reading.

To do this, he and his wife devised a token system. They created various ways of earning tokens, and allow those tokens to be redeemed for money or for screen time. The kids have various ways to earn those tokens and two ways to spend them.

The children were given ten tokens at the beginning of the week. These could each be traded in for either thirty minutes of screen time or fifty cents at the end of the week, adding up to $5 or five hours of screen time a week. If a child read a book for thirty minutes, he or she would earn an additional token, which could also be traded in for screen time or for money. The results were incredible: overnight, screen time went down 90 percent, reading went up by the same amount, and the overall effort we had to put into policing the system went way, way down.

The idea is from this article.

Your student might really fight this at first. Especially if their screen time is being reduced a lot. But it would be tangible and directly tie actions to consequences. After a while, your student would get used to trading reading time for media time.
This method would also address outright refusal to read. Once your student uses up all their tokens, their computer/game/TV time is gone for the rest of the week. Their options are to read, or play, but no media. Hopefully at that point they would choose to start reading. Combined with a family story being read with you, I think this would “force” your student to see the light-that reading can and is fun.

If the a student was really stubborn and still found ways to avoid reading, as a parent, I think you would have to step in and read to your student for the 20-minutes they were supposed to read. But of course, that would reduce your time by 20-minutes each night. Love and Logic would say that you would have less time and energy for your own chores, so your student would have to pick up the slack. You read for them, they wash the dishes, vacuum, take out the trash, and other things that you just didn’t have the time and energy to get to because you were using your time reading to them when they could be reading themselves. I bet your student would get the picture pretty quickly.

Hopefully these ideas work; here they are in a nutshell:

  • Insist on 20 minutes reading before bed each night
  • Read an interesting book together (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a good choice)
  • Implement a token system, if needed, to trade reading books for media time.

Originally posted 2014-09-09 17:36:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

5 ideas for motivating boys

Monday, February 4th, 2019

All Pro Dad has a good article about motivating boys at school and home. If you have a boy that sometimes needs a little “kickstart” to work on homework, chores, or responsibilities, here are some ideas:

1. Treat boys like boys.

2. Bring Back Recess.

3. Make sure they’re thirsty.

4. Encourage.

5. Take the Goodies out of His Room.

Read the rest of the article for an explanation of each point.

Originally posted 2014-01-21 09:10:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The time is right

Monday, January 28th, 2019

Originally posted 2018-02-19 13:55:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

When Kids Struggle with Reading

Monday, January 21st, 2019

How can I help my struggling reader? How can I get my child to love reading? These are questions that are asked over and over by caring parents that want to help their students to become successful readers.

Reading for at least 20 minutes a night is the standard advice, and it’s a good habit for students to develop. But what if they read out of duty or grudgingly? Love and Logic has a simple suggestion below that still applies in 4th grade and beyond:

After a difficult and frustrating day at work, don’t you wish your spouse would greet you with the following?

Honey, I got an email from your boss. She says that you haven’t been working up to your potential. She also mentioned that your reading is really poor and that you’ve had a bad attitude about completing your projects. That’s why we are going to sit down together and work on some practice samples. Now…I’m only doing this because I love you.

My guess is that few readers would vote for this treatment as an effective way of promoting deeper marital intimacy and improved work performance!

Far too many children struggle all day long with reading…and other subjects. Then they face even more frustration when they get home. When this happens, their reading performance rarely increases, but their disdain for books does!

May I suggest another approach? What if this strategy saved your relationship with your child AND helped him or her develop a much better vocabulary, understanding of language structure, and attitude toward reading?

Read to them, and have fun doing it. Do this even if they’re in high school! Do it as often as possible. Don’t stand over them and force them to read. Don’t nitpick their reading performance. Just enjoy your time together as you read…to them. Take the pressure off!

Read the rest here.

Originally posted 2014-03-15 12:35:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter