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How can I encourage DD to read more challenging books?


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#1 Momto5inIN

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 07:26 AM

DD is in 4th grade. She still loves those stupid Rainbow Fairy and Horse Diaries books and checks them out from the library every. single. time. even though she flies through them in a half an hour and she knows them all by heart.

When I read aloud I choose books at/above her reading level, like the Narnia books, Harry Potter, The Hobbit, etc and she loves those. For her assigned reading I assign more difficult books like The Moffats, Sounder, Rascal, etc and she does fine with those. I don't require lit guides or any written output at her age but she's able to tell me about what she read and so I think she's comprehending ok. Sometimes when she reads aloud to me from her history or science books she trips over words and/or guesses so maybe she's doing the same thing with the harder chapter books and not getting enough out of them or getting frustrated? She prefers nonfiction and will read a more difficult book about sharks with no problem so maybe it's just a genre preference?

I guess my question is do I just need to be patient and eventually she'll get tired of reading crap in her spare time ;) or do I need to be doing more to encourage her to try/enjoy the more challenging and high quality books. I can't remember what my older kids were reading at this age ...

Thanks!

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#2 Sneezyone

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 07:31 AM

I went from Judy Blume to the Babysitters Club to nabbing my mom's Harlequins, legal textbooks, whatever was handy in the house. I just enjoyed reading and learning stuff, all kinds of stuff, through every medium. If she's an avid reader, she will read. Leave some interesting new options around the house. Otherwise, assigning every other book was all I ever did with DD and she happily reads 400pg YA volumes now.


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#3 HomeAgain

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 08:05 AM

She'll outgrow it.  I read every Sweet Valley book there was.  I enjoyed the repetition and familiarity when I didn't want to have to think.  There are very few "good" books that are series like that, so it was nice to have something that always seemed like a friend.

 

Give her time.  She'll outgrow them - or not. :lol: But she'll read other stuff, too.


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#4 EKS

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 08:06 AM

I used to give my kids a pile of books and gradually increase the reading level of the items in the pile over time (years).  This worked because we owned the books. 

 

I also went through periods of using the library, but I rarely took my kids with me, which circumvented the problem you're talking about.


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#5 Kfamily

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 08:24 AM

My older daughter caused me a lot of anxiety for quite some time about this. Like you, I read great literature aloud to her and we often read literature that was a challenge but that was accessible to her together. She still was not reading more advanced books on her own by the time she was in 6th grade, which is when I really started to feel pressure about this. I continued to assign her quality books to read herself, read quality books together with her and read quality books aloud to her. By 7th grade, she started to turn the corner. She read almost all of the works by Charles Dickens, many Shakespeare plays and countless other classics by 10th grade. She is now a sophomore in college with a double major English/History, so she really did fall in love with books and reading.

 

I say...just be patient. :) I think you are handling it perfectly. You might consider reading some challenging books together with her (as in she reads aloud to you, but if she gets tired you take over and read aloud to her).

 

I divide both of my daughters' reading into three categories: school books (some read alone, some I read and some we read together), independent books (books she reads on her own that she chooses but that were on a larger list of books I chose) and free reading (books of her own choice completely). The school books are read, narrated and discussed (with a range of intensity to these), the independent books are casually narrated or discussed and the free reading books were only discussed if she wanted to discuss them. 

 


Edited by Kfamily, 13 September 2017 - 08:39 AM.

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#6 emba56

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 08:25 AM

My DD loved those awful fairies books too. Last year, near the end of fifth grade, she said "You know, that one really wasn't very good." And she seems to have outgrown them. I think it just took continual exposure to books with good characters for her, particularly, to see what was missing. So I don't know that there's anythingvbyou can do, just wait for things to click.
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#7 Bluegoat

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 08:36 AM

I think I would carry on as you are.  Since she is reading good, appropriate books for school, it isn't like she isn't having those kinds of reading experiences.

 

If you think she has too much time to read that stuff, you could assign a little more.  Maybe, try and see what it is that really appeals to her about the flower fairy books, and find something similar.  I know some kids that liked those stupid Eragon books like them because they haven't had a chance to read the much better source material.  Once they try the better stuff, the older ones start to lose their shine.

 

In any case, chances are at a certain point she'll realize how boring and formulaic those books are, and move on. She hears enough great books that she knows where to find something better. 


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#8 knitgrl

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:02 AM

We do something very similar, except with dd, she is all about Geronimo Stilton. She will read the same one over and over. She has been doing this for pretty much two years now. I read aloud to her, she listens to audiobooks on her travels to her extracurriculars, I assign her books to read independently, (which she does without complaint), and I have her read out loud to me something I think will stretch her a little bit for ten minutes, about 2-3x per week. I just trust she will grow out of it at some point.


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#9 Momto5inIN

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:18 AM

Y'all are making me feel better, thanks!
I guess I had forgotten how obsessively I read Sweet Valley High ... and I turned out okay and don't read (much) trash ...


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#10 Sweetpea3829

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:24 AM

I think as long as you are assigning her more difficult books to read, and she is reading them, than it's probably ok to overlook the fluff books she chooses to otherwise read on her own.

 

That said...I LOVED reading and would read most anything I could get my hands on.  But I never did outgrow my affinity for ridiculous fluffy books.  And I believe my predisposition towards those books made it more difficult for me to enjoy the much more difficult literature that was assigned in high school and college.  I found books such as David Copperfield, Anne of Green Gables, Tale of Two Cities, etc., to be utterly boring.  I hated them.  

 

As an adult, I sat down to read Anne of Green Gables and thoroughly loved it...read the entire series in fact.  But I also read the entire Warrior Cats series (after lamenting how stupid and poorly written it was...I just HAD to know what happened to Thunderclan) and so clearly, my affinity for stupid fluffy books remains even in adulthood, lol.  

 

My 11 yr old does still choose fluffy books as well.  She's not much of a reader and so I'll let her choose those books...but she doesn't earn any reading credit for them.  If she wants to earn reading credit (for Pizza Hut tickets, or to earn tablet time), I have to approve the book choice.  And I only approve good, solid selections.  


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#11 emba56

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:05 AM

Yes, I must admit I still have an affinity for fluffy books too, though I justify it as 'my brain needs a break'. 😀 And also I can only read passably well-written fluff. I mean, there has to be character development and no gaping plot holes or completely stupid suspension of disbelief required. I think that last is why both the owls of Gahool and the Warrior cats series were no-go for me. I mean, these animals have no thumbs, how can they build?😄

Anyway, as long as DD is getting some good books read, even enjoyingvthem, I try not to stress over fluff.
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#12 CF6

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:30 AM

Sounds like she's doing great! I used to worry about the same thing. Like our 8 year-old constantly gravitating towards Magic Tree House or Berenstain Bears. But, after talking to our 13 year-old about his book choices, I lightened up a bit.

Our oldest is 13 and he reads anything and everything he can get his hands on. Right now he is working through the Iliad as his assigned reading and Don Quixote, the Penguin Book of Norse Myths, and a poorly written book called Shark Wars. I asked him why he keeps choosing to read books like Shark Wars. I mean, the kid can read books in Latin and Italian and has stated that he enjoys difficult reads because of the challenge they pose... so, how does Shark Wars fit in with that mindset?? It is pretty much just poorly written garbage. He said that he chose it because he liked the cover and the summary on the back of the book. He acknowledged it was a dumb and pointless book, but he said it was nice to be able to just read without having to think hard to process the story. I've learned he uses easy books and books he's read million times to just take a break from thinking. After he explained that, I lightened up about my children's book choices. I figure it can't hurt as long as the junk isn't the only thing they are reading. 


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#13 forty-two

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:42 AM

Sometimes when she reads aloud to me from her history or science books she trips over words and/or guesses so maybe she's doing the same thing with the harder chapter books and not getting enough out of them or getting frustrated?

I think you're doing fine wrt introducing your dd to better literature. But to me the above is a red flag - that she could use some more reading *instruction*. You are absolutely right that difficulties in reading harder words can prevent kids from seeking out harder books, even if they'd otherwise be interested. Both of my girls have needed to work on advanced phonics skills - mastering the more complicated phonograms and how to sound out unfamiliar multi-syllable words - even *after* they were reading fluently. To me it sounds like your dd could benefit from that as well.

I did REWARDS with my oldest (and am doing it with my middle). It involves orally blending syllables together, learning the most common sounds of multi-letter phonograms, learning common prefixes and suffixes, and then learning to put all those together to break words into word parts and then sound out and blend each word part together to read long words. REWARDS can be somewhat pricey new, but I was able to get an older edition on amazon for under $15 for both teacher's guide and student book. 
ETA: Here's the links and ISBNs for the books I used (teacher's guide is somewhat more used now than it was when I got it): 
REWARDS teacher's guide (ISBN: 978-1570352712) - https://www.amazon.c.../dp/1570352712/
REWARDS student books (ISBN: 978-1570352720) - https://www.amazon.c.../dp/1570352720/

Another option is ElizabethB's syllable-based program. It does much of the same thing as REWARDS, and it's free online: http://www.thephonic...lesspellsu.html . She has a few threads here about it.


Edited by forty-two, 13 September 2017 - 11:08 AM.

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#14 ElizabethB

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 12:32 PM

I think you're doing fine wrt introducing your dd to better literature. But to me the above is a red flag - that she could use some more reading *instruction*. You are absolutely right that difficulties in reading harder words can prevent kids from seeking out harder books, even if they'd otherwise be interested. Both of my girls have needed to work on advanced phonics skills - mastering the more complicated phonograms and how to sound out unfamiliar multi-syllable words - even *after* they were reading fluently. To me it sounds like your dd could benefit from that as well.

I did REWARDS with my oldest (and am doing it with my middle). It involves orally blending syllables together, learning the most common sounds of multi-letter phonograms, learning common prefixes and suffixes, and then learning to put all those together to break words into word parts and then sound out and blend each word part together to read long words. REWARDS can be somewhat pricey new, but I was able to get an older edition on amazon for under $15 for both teacher's guide and student book.
ETA: Here's the links and ISBNs for the books I used (teacher's guide is somewhat more used now than it was when I got it):
REWARDS teacher's guide (ISBN: 978-1570352712) - https://www.amazon.c.../dp/1570352712/
REWARDS student books (ISBN: 978-1570352720) - https://www.amazon.c.../dp/1570352720/

Another option is ElizabethB's syllable-based program. It does much of the same thing as REWARDS, and it's free online: http://www.thephonic...lesspellsu.html . She has a few threads here about it.


I agree, I would try my Syllables program. but, I would go even further, take two weeks and go through it while limiting outside reading and doing a few extra nonsense words, use both versions of my nonsense word fluency tracking, then the extra words once hit the point where you have learned all the sound patterns. Limit outside reading while working on this, read her assignments to her.

Rewards is a good follow on if she still needs help.

It is easier to want to read good books if you can accurately read at a high grade level.

Edited by ElizabethB, 13 September 2017 - 12:35 PM.

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#15 Sweetpea3829

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:08 PM

Yes, I must admit I still have an affinity for fluffy books too, though I justify it as 'my brain needs a break'. 😀 And also I can only read passably well-written fluff. I mean, there has to be character development and no gaping plot holes or completely stupid suspension of disbelief required. I think that last is why both the owls of Gahool and the Warrior cats series were no-go for me. I mean, these animals have no thumbs, how can they build?😄

Anyway, as long as DD is getting some good books read, even enjoyingvthem, I try not to stress over fluff.


I LOVED the Gahoole series!!!! 😂😂😂
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#16 Momto5inIN

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:26 PM

Thank you, forty-two and ElizabethB!

 

I am going to check out your program. I did have her go all the way through AAR level 4 in 1st/2nd grade-ish even though she was reading pretty fluently by then. I think she just had such a big vocabulary that at that point she could usually guess the "big words" without having to sound them out every time ... and now that she has a higher reading level that's not so easy for her to do. Maybe your program will stick with her. :)

 


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#17 OhElizabeth

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 06:50 PM

Just to set your mind at ease, you could do some achievement testing at some point. With my dd, I used the McCall/Crabbs reading comprehension tests that SWR/Sanseri recommends, and they corresponded very well to test scores my dd got on standardized testing. So a little something like that might set your mind at ease. In general she sounds like she's doing very well. It might be good to figure out *why* she's shying away from some things. Could be something you're not expecting, like font size. I think it's a normal stage of reading acquisition to continue to read easy things. It makes them faster. My dd did it, and she is a stellar reader now.

 

Definitely keep gradually increasing the difficulty of the material that you're putting in front of her, so that not everything she's reading is potato chip. There's balance. 


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#18 Lecka

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:46 AM

I have read the fairy books aloud to my daughter. I can see their charm. I like the illustrations. I like how they are goofy.

I don't think it is a huge mystery why a 9-year-old would enjoy these books.
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#19 coralloyd

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:32 AM

 

 

I say...just be patient. :) I think you are handling it perfectly. You might consider reading some challenging books together with her (as in she reads aloud to you, but if she gets tired you take over and read aloud to her).

 

 

 

This is a great idea. With both of my daughters I started this with The Secret Garden. We really enjoyed the time together, and it was a great way to help with any comprehension issues. After doing a few books like this they were ready to launch into harder content on their own.


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#20 Momto5inIN

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:35 AM

I agree, I would try my Syllables program. but, I would go even further, take two weeks and go through it while limiting outside reading and doing a few extra nonsense words, use both versions of my nonsense word fluency tracking, then the extra words once hit the point where you have learned all the sound patterns. Limit outside reading while working on this, read her assignments to her.

Rewards is a good follow on if she still needs help.

It is easier to want to read good books if you can accurately read at a high grade level.

 

I'm going to pm you with my DD's results of her tests from your program, hope that's ok?
 


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#21 ErikaElle

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 02:31 AM

My son (2nd grader) was doing the same thing. To get him out of it, I made a list of mom-approved/assigned books for him to read. He reads these books to me for 20 minutes every day as part of our reading subject. One book will be at his grade level and the next will be above. We alternate that way. For instance, right now he is reading a Frog & Toad book. He'll finish it tomorrow and then will start The Adventures of Pinocchio.

 

After he finishes up his daily reading, I read to him from living books. We're currently midways through The Chocolate Touch. We don't do literary analysis in written form or anything like that over the material we read. We do discuss what happened in the story and characters in the story, but I think that's a normal part of sharing books you love with someone.

 

Something about cuddling up on the couch and reading through chapter books together made him excited to want to read bigger books on his own. He still likes the cutesy kiddie books (and we read those too, especially beautiful picture books, as part of our morning time/basket) and we (husband & I) welcome him to check those out from the library and read independently on his own or aloud to us.



#22 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 02:36 PM

I went from Judy Blume to the Babysitters Club to nabbing my mom's Harlequins, legal textbooks, whatever was handy in the house. I just enjoyed reading and learning stuff, all kinds of stuff, through every medium. If she's an avid reader, she will read. Leave some interesting new options around the house. Otherwise, assigning every other book was all I ever did with DD and she happily reads 400pg YA volumes now.


This was me as well. I'd go from sweet valley high to Charles Dickens in a matter of days.

My DD and I talked about sugar books and vegetable books. I told her we need to have a balance. We just left the library and she got 5 Rainbow Magic fairy books. She'll finish them in a couple of days. But she also has some books I chose for her. Using the sugar and veggies illustration seems to have helped her understand book quality better. But I still let her read what she wants as long as there's a balance.
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