Teach your children to love to read

Educators believe that they love to read and children do not. Yet they have a hard time explaining the success of the Harry Potter series. Children like adults like to read what they want to read.

Who amongst us has read their computer-operating manual? Or their instruction form from their 1040 Instructions for their income tax? We, like children like to read what we like to read. Children do like to read. How else can you explain the Harry Potter phenomenon?

I can remember what short story turned me on to reading. It was Frank Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger”? Can you remember what short story, novel, non-fiction book made this kind of impression on you? Why not explain to students your favorite book or short story, or author?

What one book, which you can obtain for free, do ALL teenagers want to read? It is the instruction manual needed to get a driver’s license. Maybe we should teach reading to reluctant readers using this book. In addition, driver’s manuals also have an assessment that measures comprehension. My math and science teacher friends tell me that there are math and physics concepts that can be used in the driver’s manual.

Teachers can put copies of the instruction manual in the back of the classroom along with old copies of “Car and Driver”, “Sport’s Illustrated”, Glamour”, “Teen”, “People”, “US”, “Seventeen”. Old copies of these magazines can be obtained from the school library or the public library. In addition, newsstands return the covers of these magazines for credit, to the publisher and generally throw out the rest. Write a letter to the publishers and ask if you can obtain previous copies. In the letter explain the purpose of your request and tell them they have the ability to build new readership. Encourage the parents of your students to contribute to your library of magazines.

This posting is from my new book, “152 Ways to Keep Students in School:  Effective, Easy-to-Implement Tips for Teachers” to be published by Eye on Education, April 30, 2008.