What to do with a reluctant reader

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

Fail better


“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

– Samuel Beckett, writer

Originally posted 2015-03-21 08:47:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How to get a million more dollars

The Free Money Finance website recently reported on a Fox Business article about the value of education. Here’s the average lifetime earnings of a typical worker working 40 years:

  • Non-high school graduates: $936k
  • High school graduates: $1.1 million
  • Some college: $1.6 million
  • Associate’s degree: $1.8 million
  • Bachelor’s degree: $2.4 million
  • Master’s degree: $3.5 million
  • Doctoral degree: $3.5 million
  • Professional degree: $4.2 million

What the article noticed was that workers graduating from college earn over a million more dollars in their life compared to a high school graduate. It’s the difference between $20,000 a year and $60,000. More than anything, this shows that college pays off. Even though college is a long ways away for 4th and 5th graders, wise students will start to get ready now by making their brains as smart as they can. That means using class time wisely, learning what they need to learn, finishing tasks, fixing problems, and working at home each night a little to get smarter.

A good income is within reach for anyone that works for it. And students can start working for it by getting as smart as they can. Because the best way to go to college is with scholarships earned by great academic performance!

Read the whole article here.

Originally posted 2016-10-27 16:12:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Sick kids: when to send them or keep them home

Sometimes it’s a judgment call about when to keep a sick kid home or send them to school. Kids can’t stay home for every ache and pain, even though they might want to. But sending a legitimately sick kid to school could make matters worse. Here are some guidelines:

When to send them

  • A common cold or runny nose.
  • A cough not associated with a fever, rapid or difficult breathing, or wheezing.
  • Pink eye after symptoms have faded or after 24 hours of treatment from a doctor.
  • Watery, yellow or white discharge or crusting eye discharge without fever, eye pain or eyelid redness.
  • A fever without any other symptoms. The AAP states: “A fever is an indication of the body’s response to something, but is neither a disease nor a serious problem by itself.” A fever is defined as a temperature above 101 degrees.
  • A rash without fever and behavioral changes. (Exception: Call 911 for rapidly spreading bruising or small blood spots under the skin.)
  • Lice, as long as the child has started treatment and has no live lice.

When to stay home

  • A fever over 100° (Fahrenheit)
  • For 24 hours after starting an antibiotic
  • For 24 hours after symptoms of stomach flu have subsided (such as vomiting or diarrhea)
  • A persistent cough or chest pain, or if your child is having a hard time swallowing
  • An earache with persistent pain
  • Crusty, draining and red eyes
  • An unfamiliar rash, or a rash that hasn’t been examined by a doctor
  • Any illness that prevents the child from participating comfortably in school activities.
  • Vomiting more than two times in the past 24 hours.
  • Abdominal pain that continues for more than two hours.
  • Mouth sores with drooling that the child cannot control.
  • A rash with fever or behavioral changes.
  • Strep throat, until the child has two doses of antibiotic.
  • Head lice, only if the child has not been treated or if there is live lice present.
  • Chickenpox (varicella), until all lesions have dried or crusted.

See this source for more details. Our school nurse also has more information at her School Health website.

Originally posted 2020-01-09 17:03:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How to help your student get started on work

Some students struggle with getting started on homework or other work at home. It can become a battle of wills or a temptation to issue threats and assert control. Love and Logic suggests looking for ways to share control and give choices, before things get difficult:

  • Will you be starting your schoolwork now or in five minutes?
  • What do you want to start with? Math or reading?
  • Do you want to make a goal of working for 30 minutes before your break, or would 25 minutes be better?
  • Will you be doing your work while sitting or standing?
  • Do you think it would be best to draft something on pencil or paper… or begin your work directly on the computer?
  • Would you like my help or would you prefer working alone?
  • Do you want to learn in the kitchen or in the family room?
  • Will you be working while keeping your body still, or would you rather see how much you can wiggle while still getting it done?
  • Should we start with the hardest part first or the easiest?
  • Would you rather help me with chores or get started on your schoolwork?

The key to success with this technique involves remembering three things:

  1. Give most of your choices before your child becomes resistant… not after.
  2. With each choice provide two options, each of which you like.
  3. Be prepared to choose for your child if they don’t select an option you provided.

Read the rest of the article here.

Originally posted 2020-04-20 09:44:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter