It seems that this blog recently has gravitated to parents of children who are just beginning to read or who may not yet be readers. That certainly is an important time.
However, this post will be devoted to those readers in 3-4th grade and beyond. One of the most common mistakes I see parents make is, when their child becomes an independent reader at some level, moving away from supporting their child as a reader. Most of the time it's because the parent mistakenly believes that the child can now "do it on his/her own" and doesn't need anything further.
They Aren't Ready to Fly Solo
The truth is that children continue to mature as readers into their adult years. In one manner of speaking, if we keep reading all our lives, we are constantly becoming better, deeper readers and thinkers. That translates into better problem-solvers, more creative individuals and who wouldn't want that for their child?
Unique ways to support your older reader
The same strategies you use to encourage reading with a 5, 6 or 7 year old won't be very effective with a pre-teen or teen. Think "what are they interested in?" and answer that question with a book, a magazine, an online resource.
Think about reading as a tool for life and ask yourself, "how can I help my child use this tool effectively?"
Practice and exposure to what they want to read is always important.
Dr. Steven Layne, one of my favorite researchers, reminds us all that we cannot forget to encourage reading for its pleasure, its interest. Click on his name in the previous sentence to read more.
Lastly, the U.S. Department of Education has some good advise and, although their brochure Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence isn't exclusively about supporting him/her as a reader, it does give some excellence tips in that area.
Looking for new titles? Try these:
From the New York Times Chapter Books (January, 2011)
Chapter Books for Middle Readers
Random House selections
Want to try something really new? Check out Jon Scieszka's chapter books.
Don't forget to visit my friends at the Reading Tub.
A final P.S. I'll be traveling next week to Springfield, IL for the Illinois Reading Council Conference. If you know anyone who lives in that central part of Illinois or is planning to attend the convention (mostly educators and librarians), please let them know I'll be presenting 3/17/2011.
As always, comments about content or books are welcome!