20 Ways to Encourage Reading

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download (1)Studies show that the more kids read, the better they read and the more pleasure they get out of reading. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Children who read very little usually have poor reading skills. Reading can be a struggle for many children. Recently, I read an article written by RIF that had some great tips on how to encourage reading and I wanted to share some of that article with you.

Why do children at times not like reading? Read the statements below and ask yourself if they sound familiar.

  • It’s boring. 
  • I don’t have the time.
  • It’s too hard.
  • It’s not important.
  • It’s no fun.

20 Ways to Encourage Reading

I’ve stated why some kids don’t like to read, now for some ways to turn that frown upside down.

1. Scout for things your children might like to read. Use their interests and hobbies as starting points.

2. Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colorful catalogs in conspicuous places around your home.

3. Notice what attracts your children’s attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.

4. Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.

5. Take your children to the library regularly. Explore the children’s section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.

6. Present reading as an activity with a purpose—a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child‘s collection, or planning a family trip.

7. Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.

8. Play games that are reading-related. Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions.

9. Perhaps over dinner, while you’re running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.

10. Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, independent of schoolwork—the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner, or whatever fits into your household schedule. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child’s skills and habits.

11. Read aloud to your child, especially a child who is discouraged by his or her own poor reading skills. The pleasure of listening to you read, rather than struggling alone, may restore your child’s initial enthusiasm for books and reading.

12. Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting tidbit in the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book. When children read aloud, don’t feel they have to get every word right. Even good readers skip or mispronounce words now and then.

13. On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child’s current interests.

14. Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.

15. Introduce the bookmark. Remind your youngster that you don’t have to finish a book in one sitting; you can stop after a few pages, or a chapter, and pick up where you left off at another time. Don’t try to persuade your child to finish a book he or she doesn’t like. Recommend putting the book aside and trying another.

16. Treat your children to an evening of laughter and entertainment featuring books! Many children (parents, too) regard reading as a serious activity. A joke book, a story told in riddles, or a funny passage read aloud can reveal another side of reading.

17. Extend your child’s positive reading experiences. For example, if your youngster enjoyed a book about dinosaurs, follow-up with a visit to a natural history museum.

18. Offer other special incentives to encourage your child’s reading. Allow your youngster to stay up an extra 15 minutes to finish a chapter; promise to take your child to see a movie after he or she has finished the book on which it was based; relieve your child of a regular chore to free up time for reading.

19. Limit your children’s television viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading. But never use TV as a reward for reading, or a punishment for not reading.

20. Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family’s busy day.

Assembly at Alma Heights

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DS CoverI’m looking forward to visiting Alma Heights Christian School on Friday. It’s always exciting to talk with students about writing. Of all the ways to inspire children to read, I believe talking with an author rates up there at the top. Let’s face it, kids do a lot of reading. In a school year, children read countless stories, but they rarely have the opportunity to talk to a book author about writing. Another aspect of my visit on Friday that excites me is I will be able to put my books into readers’ hands. Something about selling books to real people is validating. All that hard work equals books sales and ultimately appreciation. I can’t wait!alma

What is Adventure?

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What is adventure? Adventure is usually described as an undertaking, which involves danger. An event that involves a venture that requires overcoming a challenge. So, how does an adventure relate to literature or fiction?
In literature, the protagonist takes on a heroic quest, facing grave dangers. Whatever the task at hand, the protagonist must prove his or her worthiness. If the hero fails, dire consequences may befall the protagonist. In my soon to be released story, Dot and Scribble Fall into Adventure, two characters set out on an adventure to get a magic key. Here’s an excerpt.

“Come on, let’s go on an adventure—just you and me.”

“Who’s gonna take care of Boon?” Dot replied. “Besides, it’s too dangerous.”

Scribble jumped up and down. “You know the way to the castle, don’t you?”

“Of course I know the way. All we do is follow that path. I also know the legend of the Key to Adventure. I don’t believe a word of it.”

Boon was jumping and splashing in the water.

“Getting the key is not worth the risk. It’s only a legend. A key worth all the wealth in the kingdom? Please.”

 

How to Encourage Reading

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download (1)Studies show that the more kids read, the better they read and the more pleasure they get out of reading. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Children who read very little usually have poor reading skills. Reading can be a struggle for many children. Recently, I read an article written by RIF that had some great tips on how to encourage reading and I wanted to share some of that article with you.

Why do children at times not like reading? Read the statements below and ask yourself if they sound familiar.

  • It’s boring. 
  • I don’t have the time.
  • It’s too hard.
  • It’s not important.
  • It’s no fun.

20 Ways to Encourage Reading

I’ve stated why some kids don’t like to read, now for some ways to turn that frown upside down.

1. Scout for things your children might like to read. Use their interests and hobbies as starting points.

2. Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colorful catalogs in conspicuous places around your home.

3. Notice what attracts your children’s attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.

4. Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.

5. Take your children to the library regularly. Explore the children’s section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.

6. Present reading as an activity with a purpose—a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child‘s collection, or planning a family trip.

7. Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.

8. Play games that are reading-related. Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions.

9. Perhaps over dinner, while you’re running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.

10. Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, independent of schoolwork—the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner, or whatever fits into your household schedule. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child’s skills and habits.

11. Read aloud to your child, especially a child who is discouraged by his or her own poor reading skills. The pleasure of listening to you read, rather than struggling alone, may restore your child’s initial enthusiasm for books and reading.

12. Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting tidbit in the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book. When children read aloud, don’t feel they have to get every word right. Even good readers skip or mispronounce words now and then.

13. On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child’s current interests.

14. Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.

15. Introduce the bookmark. Remind your youngster that you don’t have to finish a book in one sitting; you can stop after a few pages, or a chapter, and pick up where you left off at another time. Don’t try to persuade your child to finish a book he or she doesn’t like. Recommend putting the book aside and trying another.

16. Treat your children to an evening of laughter and entertainment featuring books! Many children (parents, too) regard reading as a serious activity. A joke book, a story told in riddles, or a funny passage read aloud can reveal another side of reading.

17. Extend your child’s positive reading experiences. For example, if your youngster enjoyed a book about dinosaurs, follow-up with a visit to a natural history museum.

18. Offer other special incentives to encourage your child’s reading. Allow your youngster to stay up an extra 15 minutes to finish a chapter; promise to take your child to see a movie after he or she has finished the book on which it was based; relieve your child of a regular chore to free up time for reading.

19. Limit your children’s television viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading. But never use TV as a reward for reading, or a punishment for not reading.

20. Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family’s busy day.

How to Encourage Reading

4 Comments

Studies show that the more kids read, the better they read and the more pleasure they get out of reading. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Children who read very little usually have poor reading skills. Reading can be a struggle for many children. Recently, I read an article written by RIF that had some great tips on how to encourage reading and I wanted to share some of that article with you.

Why do children at times not like reading? Read the statements below and ask yourself if they sound familiar.

  • It’s boring. 
  • I don’t have the time.
  • It’s too hard.
  • It’s not important.
  • It’s no fun.

20 Ways to Encourage Reading

I’ve stated why some kids don’t like to read, now for some ways to turn that frown upside down.

1. Scout for things your children might like to read. Use their interests and hobbies as starting points.

2. Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colorful catalogs in conspicuous places around your home.

3. Notice what attracts your children’s attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.

4. Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.

5. Take your children to the library regularly. Explore the children’s section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.

6. Present reading as an activity with a purpose—a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child‘s collection, or planning a family trip.

7. Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.

8. Play games that are reading-related. Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions.

9. Perhaps over dinner, while you’re running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.

10. Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, independent of schoolwork—the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner, or whatever fits into your household schedule. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child’s skills and habits.

11. Read aloud to your child, especially a child who is discouraged by his or her own poor reading skills. The pleasure of listening to you read, rather than struggling alone, may restore your child’s initial enthusiasm for books and reading.

12. Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting tidbit in the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book. When children read aloud, don’t feel they have to get every word right. Even good readers skip or mispronounce words now and then.

13. On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child’s current interests.

14. Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.

15. Introduce the bookmark. Remind your youngster that you don’t have to finish a book in one sitting; you can stop after a few pages, or a chapter, and pick up where you left off at another time. Don’t try to persuade your child to finish a book he or she doesn’t like. Recommend putting the book aside and trying another.

16. Treat your children to an evening of laughter and entertainment featuring books! Many children (parents, too) regard reading as a serious activity. A joke book, a story told in riddles, or a funny passage read aloud can reveal another side of reading.

17. Extend your child’s positive reading experiences. For example, if your youngster enjoyed a book about dinosaurs, follow-up with a visit to a natural history museum.

18. Offer other special incentives to encourage your child’s reading. Allow your youngster to stay up an extra 15 minutes to finish a chapter; promise to take your child to see a movie after he or she has finished the book on which it was based; relieve your child of a regular chore to free up time for reading.

19. Limit your children’s television viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading. But never use TV as a reward for reading, or a punishment for not reading.

20. Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family’s busy day.

The Throughline

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I’m working on two manuscripts now. Writing is always challenging, but writing two manuscripts, each for different age groups, is an unusual test of my ability as a writer. I hope I pass the test. There are obvious challenges with each like word choice, appealing to different audiences, and staying within a certain word count, but there are a some interesting similarities that I’ve noticed. One similarity is called the throughline. Writers think of the throughline as the heart of the book or the driving force that is the primary focus of your main character. For most novels, the throughline appears early, maybe even on the first page of your manuscript. Typically, after you create your basic story setting, characters, decide on the audience, and craft the beginnings of a theme–the throughline of your story appears as the primary motivation for your point of view character.

If the throughline eludes you, then it may be time to start over.

Great writers grab hold of the throughline and refuse to let go. Of course, there can be more than one throughline in a book, but there should always be one fundamental throughline that pulls the reader from beginning to end. This central idea shapes your main characters and your narrative.
For the two manuscripts I’m writing, the throughline is as different as the children that will hopefully read my books once they are published. The primary motivation in the first story is the main characters need to find his father who has disappeared. Another challenge arises in this book involving a computer virus and technology, but the central idea that drives the book forward is the character’s desire to find his father. This book is written for middle grades.
My other book is an early reader chapter book written for 7-10 year olds. In this manuscript, the primary character is always looking for adventure and some sort of mystical prize. In the first book, the prize is the key to adventure. In the second book which I’m currently writing, the throughline has eluded me. The challenge with this short book is introducing the goal earlier.
What type of manuscripts are you crafting and what are your character’s goals? Tell me about the throughline in your stories.

Assemblies

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In a few weeks, I will be doing an assembly for a local school. I used to do assemblies when I was an administrator at a school, but this will test my skills in a new direction. The topic and purpose, you guessed it, Stink Bomb; but I will be promoting my book and teaching students about writing and literacy.

What’s the purpose of an assembly? I would say that assemblies involve building a positive group identity and previewing a new topic. Students want to have fun and be with each other. At a school, getting everyone together can improve how the overall school functions. As a result, you can actually tell a lot about a student body by how they respond in this format.

The following list on contains some of my own ideas and a few I borrowed from a site.

Assembly Tips:

  • Decide on your learning objectives.
  • Know your audience. Talk to teachers, librarian, or administrator before you get up in front of the school. They can help you win over your audience with the right topic.
  • Keep content simple and aim for the right age group.
  • Use music to set the mood, and have it playing as pupils come in. Turn music off as a  signal to begin.
  • Assembly rooms are bigger than classrooms. Will everyone be able to hear you? What about lines of sight – will everyone be able to see you? If you have visual aids, are they big enough to be visible from a distance?
  • Eye contact is especially important when you’re working with large groups, so pick three or four pupils in different parts of the room, and make eye contact with each of them in turn. You’ll look engaged with the audience.
  • Aim to involve your audience. If the core of your assembly is a story, and mine is a book promotion in part, begin by asking questions to help pupils focus on its subject.
  • Child-generated props, masks and costumes add to the fun.
  • Remember that stories are better told than read. Master the bones of the story, then improvise around that structure.
  • Remember to speak more slowly than usual. Give your words time to sink in.
  • Make pupils work. If one of your learning objectives is to get them to examine and to change their views on an issue, begin by taking a vote to establish what they think before your presentation, and take another after it.
  • Help them take what they know and encourage them to think about it, and reflect on their own experience.
  • Involve parents. Does your school usually invite parents to class assemblies? It may be a nice idea to record the assembly on video.
  • Students will be going back to class afterward. Don’t over-excite students.butterflies flower hill

Now it’s time to plan. It’s going to be the bomb!

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