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Ordinary Shoes

Finding Time to Read

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DD is in 2nd grade. To my frustration, there is virtually no time for reading in the classroom. DD always has a book in her backpack but says they never have time for free-reading. She did a lot of reading in the library after lunch when school first started because it was so hot outside (we live in AZ). Now that it's nice outside, DD spends her recesses playing outside which is great but she's lost that free reading time at school. 

 

DD always wants to play after we get home from school after she finishes her homework. 

 

A few weeks ago, I started doing a version of DEAR with her. I'll read and she'll sit next to me and read her book. 

 

But she's spending a lot of time reading so she's not making that much progress on her books. 

 

She's at an age where she would rather play than read. I don't want to discourage play but think she needs to be reading a little bit more so she keeps up her skills. She's reading about 2 grade levels ahead so I'm not worried about her reading. 

 

Do your kids have time for free reading during school? It drives me crazy that they don't have time for this. 

 

Any suggestions for encouraging more reading at home? I thought about the car on the way home from school but DD likes to listen to audio books. Should I turn off the audio books and encouraging reading instead? 

 

 

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My kids have generally had a reasonable amount of time for free reading at school, but they also read at home.  When my kids were 8yo, one of them didn't love reading, but needed the practice.  I would ask her to read at least one grade-level book every day or two (either a picture book with rich language, or a chapter book such as Magic Treehouse).  For her, homework was a challenge, so between that and reading and activities, she honestly didn't have much time for free play on M-TH evenings.  We also did not turn on the TV unless it was for educational purposes.  She did have some chill time riding the school bus and maybe half an hour after arriving home.

 

When I used to drive my kids to school and back (K-2), I did have them do reading in the car, as well as oral spelling and math drills.  Problem is, not everyone can read in the car without getting sick.  Nowadays we do audiobooks in the car rather than fuss over who's getting motion sickness.

 

One of my kids enjoys bathroom reading, so you might give that a try if you have enough bathrooms.  :P

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Do your kids have time for free reading during school? It drives me crazy that they don't have time for this.

 

There's a move to spend more time during the school day doing instruction. Free reading is valuable, but the assumption is that families can make it happen at home while they can't make the lesson happen at home.

 

How about setting her bedtime a little earlier and letting her read in bed before light's out?

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Ask the teacher what the day's routine is.  Here, there is free time, but it can be used for reading, drawing, or math skill practice.

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Audio books are great if your goal is to develop an enthusiastic and skilled reader with a good vocabulary. Parents reading aloud is even better. I wouldn't phase those out.

 

I don't permit screens of any sort before school, so when they get up (usually between 6:30 and 7:30) they read until breakfast and then again after they're ready to go but before the bus comes at 8:30. If they have a lot of free time after school, we rotate between outside time, screen time, and reading or other non-screen activity. On the weekend the same but maybe a little more emphasis on outside time. They also usually need at least 30 minutes of reading to wind down for bed.

At school, my kids say that there is usually reading time interspersed in the day, for example when a teacher is getting ready for a lesson the class might be instructed to take out their independent reading book. Also mine are both quick workers, and reading silently is the preferred way for them to fill the time when their work is done. Reading is a homework expectation at our school, starting from 15-20 minutes a day in kindergarten and building up to I think 30-40 minutes per day in fifth grade.

 

I really want to see DEAR/SSR time built in to the school day though. I'm thinking of getting my sources together and advocating for it before my kids reach the end of elementary. :) Do you have a PTA at your school? That's the kind of advocacy effort they might be able to support.

Edited by Alison1
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Part of the issue is that DD uses all of the allocated time to finish her work. She's always been like this. If you give her 10 minutes, she'll take ten minutes. If you give her five for the same task, she'll get it done in five. She's very thorough and a bit of a perfectionist. That's why she would do better with DEAR instead of read after you finish this assignment, KWIM? 

 

She's also figured out the game of finishing her work early and then getting more work as a "reward". Last week she told me that two boys are ahead of her in math because they are "smart" and doing extra worksheets. She then told me that she was the smartest girl in the class in math but she's not as smart as the boys because they do the extra worksheets. I asked her why they did the worksheets and she didn't. She said that she didn't want to do the extra worksheets so never finished her math early. She did the same thing in 1st grade. She never got extra math work because she always made sure she didn't finish her math early because she didn't want to do more math work. 

 

 

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Once she has a book she wants to read, she'll whip thru the work.  Work on speeding up at home...make a game out of it. 

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My boys (twins) are also in second grade.  They only get about 10 minutes of scheduled free-read time in the classroom during the day.   They do sometimes grab their books when they finish their work and read it during extra time in class.   But they only do that when they have a book that they are super interested in.   I also make sure they always have a book in their backpack that is at their reading level that they are interested in.  They read on the bus on the way home (when they aren't napping).  At home we have a no screens before school policy in place and I often catching them reading then.  I keep a basket of books in the car for them to read when we are driving.  They read in the bathroom.   At bed time we always either have 15-30 minutes of read aloud time or they read to themselves.   And, in the car we listen to audiobooks or podcasts (sparkle stories & WOW in the World)

 

It is a challenge but finding 5-10 minutes in short spots during the day will add up quick to significant amounts of time reading.   Focus on finding books that interest her and then feed that need for the series.  I can't even guess how many Geranimo & Thea Stilton books we have gone through in the last year!

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Our school doesn't have a set time for free reading either. I'm not sure how much my seven-year-old reads at school, since he definitely needs his playtime and outside time.

 

At home, we:

- Visit the library weekly to ensure that new, interesting books are always available

- Let the children read before bedtime in their bed (under the guise of "staying up")

- No screens in the morning before school (time may be spent reading or playing)

- Bring books when we're out for waiting periods (like waiting at a slower restaurant)

 

My kids are bookworms and spend a lot of time reading. Particularly new library books are encouraging for them, so having new books every week is a huge motivator. They will re-read books, particularly the younger one, but the older one loves new books and variety.

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My DD8 is grade 3 and she loves to read. She has free reading time for about 15-20mins from school every day and she joins a reading club during a recess time.

 

My original plan is to have a dedicated reading time of one hour each day. But so far we are not successful. She reads when she gets up in the morning and before she goes to bed. But she complained today that she needs more reading time and suggested to read for an hour everyday after she is off school. We will see if it could work out.

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My DD8 is grade 3 and she loves to read. She has free reading time for about 15-20mins from school every day and she joins a reading club during a recess time.

 

My original plan is to have a dedicated reading time of one hour each day. But so far we are not successful. She reads when she gets up in the morning and before she goes to bed. But she complained today that she needs more reading time and suggested to read for an hour everyday after she is off school. We will see if it could work out.

 

For your grade 2, interest driven free reading is still the key. So if you want to change something, change in a more gentle way so she still keeps the interest.

Edited by TrustAndLove
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Befoe school, before bed, outisde in tree or hammock, inside in front of fire or in room (or wherever). Child reads nonstop a vareity of things & I don't require any specific minutes although she has a school monthly log. I have no idea if she has DEAR at school still although I suspect she does & I believe teacher reads aloud to class. She also does Reading A-Z. I ask her to read aloud a paragraph or two from time to time just to keep tabs on her fluency & to check discipline specific progress but she's well above grade level (3rd grader at middle school level) so, lke you, I'm not too worried. She has access to audio books at home & we also listen to them in the car. We read aloud at night as well.

 

Now that she's gotten reading down (for the most part) I focus on wide.exposure of genre types & eras and vocabulary development. I want her to know classics as well. Interest-led reading is important along with expository texts. She gets motion sickness so cannot read in the car, which is why audio books are great. At 8 years old, she is now also exposed to age appropriate current events. I cherish our read alouds because they allow us to bond over great literature. Quality (& some purely silly) books abound in our house so if boredom strikes it is most likely quenched by a good book.

 

I have always believed a solid educational foundation rests in a rich home library. To this end, it is a centerpiece of our home life. I don't clock minutes or stress over covering certain topics. We all naturally gravitate towards books as the ebb and flow of life happens. The books get used more days than others but they're always there at our disposal & for our enrichment.

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I think the interest level is part of the problem. I posted on the main forum looking for exciting books with girl protagonists. DD whipped through the Princess in Black series and then the Dragon Masters series. She carried those books around everywhere until she finished them. She's just not that interested in the other books that are her level. She's reading at 4th grade level and it's been hard finding books at her level that are exciting. It seems like many of the early reader type books (3rd and 4th grade level) are sweeter books about animals, e.g. the Sophie the Mouse series which DD is reading now. She likes the Sophie the Mouse but it's not that interesting to her. The books that really interest her are slightly above her level. For example, I bought the first Nancy Drew book. I read the first chapter and she was very interested in the mystery. I sat with her while she read the second chapter and some of the words were a little challenging for her. The AR book finder says it's level is 5.5. 

 

We went to the library regularly during the summer but it's hard during the school year. 

 

Part of the issue here is the time of year. This is the best time of the year to be outside in AZ. It's probably natural that that kids here read less this time of year because they are playing outside. Of course I'm always glad to see her playing outside with her friends. 

 

 

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I think the interest level is part of the problem. I posted on the main forum looking for exciting books with girl protagonists. DD whipped through the Princess in Black series and then the Dragon Masters series. She carried those books around everywhere until she finished them. She's just not that interested in the other books that are her level. She's reading at 4th grade level and it's been hard finding books at her level that are exciting. It seems like many of the early reader type books (3rd and 4th grade level) are sweeter books about animals, e.g. the Sophie the Mouse series which DD is reading now. She likes the Sophie the Mouse but it's not that interesting to her. The books that really interest her are slightly above her level. For example, I bought the first Nancy Drew book. I read the first chapter and she was very interested in the mystery. I sat with her while she read the second chapter and some of the words were a little challenging for her. The AR book finder says it's level is 5.5.

 

We went to the library regularly during the summer but it's hard during the school year.

 

Part of the issue here is the time of year. This is the best time of the year to be outside in AZ. It's probably natural that that kids here read less this time of year because they are playing outside. Of course I'm always glad to see her playing outside with her friends.

Dahl? Harry Potter? My daughter also likes adventures and action. I'm sure she'd prefer a strong female lead character but the lack of one doesn't deter her from inhaling fast-moving books. Try higher-level books with CDs to accompany them so she gets exposure to harder vocab., etc.--that's an option. Anne of Green Gables was/is a perennial fave. here. Pippi?

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Dahl? Harry Potter? My daughter also likes adventures and action. I'm sure she'd prefer a strong female lead character but the lack of one doesn't deter her from inhaling fast-moving books. Try higher-level books with CDs to accompany them so she gets exposure to harder vocab., etc.--that's an option. Anne of Green Gables was/is a perennial fave. here. Pippi?

 

I've been reading the Dahl books to her as a family read-aloud. I think Harry Potter is slightly above her reading level. According to the AR bookfinder, it is a 5.7 (7th month of 5th grade book). I read the first Harry Potter book to her last year and we got about halfway through the second. She thought the 2nd book was a little scary with the ghosts so we stopped. 

 

I bought Pippi Longstocking to read to her a few years ago but she refused to ever listen to it. I keep offering it but she always refuses it. I don't get it. I think she'd really like it. 

 

I've been holding off on some of the classic little girl books like Anne of Green Gables, the Secret Garden, the Little Princess, All of a Kind Family because I think they are a little above her in maturity right now. She just turned 8. I loved all of those books when I was about 9 and 10. I loved these books so much as a little girl and I want her to appreciate them by reading them at the right time. 

 

ETA that I read to her constantly. We read books well above her reading level. I'm afterschooling the Middle Ages with her this year and I've been reading a lot of books to her about King Arthur, castles, knights, etc. I'm also reading a classic children's book as a read-aloud as well as a good collection of fairy tales. She scored 98% in vocabulary on this year's Iowa tests. 

 

 

Edited by Ordinary Shoes

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I wouldn't ask her to give up her recess or her outside time to read.  Plenty of time to read on the weekends and during school, and she does need to keep the habit of outdoor physical activity.

 

What if you buddy read Nancy Drew?  That would get the practice in while keeping the interest.  You could then give her nonfiction, poetry, or a magazine to read when she is done with her seatwork at school. 

 

As far as getting more math in return for finishing early..ask the teacher what the options are.  The students may have the option to read or write instead, or the teacher may be enriching those who want more math ws instead of computer time or their own exploration time.   

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I think the interest level is part of the problem. I posted on the main forum looking for exciting books with girl protagonists. DD whipped through the Princess in Black series and then the Dragon Masters series. She carried those books around everywhere until she finished them. She's just not that interested in the other books that are her level. She's reading at 4th grade level and it's been hard finding books at her level that are exciting. It seems like many of the early reader type books (3rd and 4th grade level) are sweeter books about animals, e.g. the Sophie the Mouse series which DD is reading now. She likes the Sophie the Mouse but it's not that interesting to her. The books that really interest her are slightly above her level. For example, I bought the first Nancy Drew book. I read the first chapter and she was very interested in the mystery. I sat with her while she read the second chapter and some of the words were a little challenging for her. The AR book finder says it's level is 5.5. 

 

We went to the library regularly during the summer but it's hard during the school year. 

 

Part of the issue here is the time of year. This is the best time of the year to be outside in AZ. It's probably natural that that kids here read less this time of year because they are playing outside. Of course I'm always glad to see her playing outside with her friends. 

Have you tried the younger Nancy Drew series?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Drew_Notebooks,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Drew_and_the_Clue_Crew, https://www.amazon.com/Pool-Party-Puzzler-Nancy-Drew/dp/148142937X.  Piper Green and the Fairy Tree might be good too.

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I am not sure what happened to DD8. Up to a month ago, she refuses to read the Witches from Roald Dahl and HP because they are too scary. Now she is reading through the second HP. It takes time for kids this age to get comfortable with books a bit longer and "darker". You DD might enjoy the Stilton books.

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Free reading is tricky for teachers. Kids that read well are able to increase their reading ability when they read on their own. Kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia (1 in 5 students) don't have it so easy. A kid that isn't reading accurately is just going to continue reading inaccurately, and even worse, keep reinforcing mistakes. Kids with dyslexia should have access to audiobooks or other tech during reading time, but many schools may not have that. As a special ed teacher, that's one of the reasons I don't have kids read too much without guidance from me. I'm sure it's different in a typical classroom, but even so, the teacher may know that independent reading won't work for a significant percentage of the class (dyslexia, ADD, comprehension issues, etc). 

 

That being said, free reading was my favorite part of school when I was a kid. I hated most other parts of school!

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DD is in 2nd grade. To my frustration, there is virtually no time for reading in the classroom. DD always has a book in her backpack but says they never have time for free-reading. She did a lot of reading in the library after lunch when school first started because it was so hot outside (we live in AZ). Now that it's nice outside, DD spends her recesses playing outside which is great but she's lost that free reading time at school. 

 

DD always wants to play after we get home from school after she finishes her homework. 

 

A few weeks ago, I started doing a version of DEAR with her. I'll read and she'll sit next to me and read her book. 

 

But she's spending a lot of time reading so she's not making that much progress on her books. 

 

She's at an age where she would rather play than read. I don't want to discourage play but think she needs to be reading a little bit more so she keeps up her skills. She's reading about 2 grade levels ahead so I'm not worried about her reading. 

 

Do your kids have time for free reading during school? It drives me crazy that they don't have time for this. 

 

Any suggestions for encouraging more reading at home? I thought about the car on the way home from school but DD likes to listen to audio books. Should I turn off the audio books and encouraging reading instead? 

 

In 2nd my children had read-aloud from a teacher more than free reading. They were also required to read 20 minutes after school every day.

 

Free reading came in 3rd and 4th.

 

My kids liked Lois Lowry and Beverly Cleary at that age. Not watered down but also familiar scenarios. I'd rather they get fluency in what they know than constantly have to push themselves. Sometimes reading is about escape. That's what I'm going for at this point (even in 5th grade). They are doing well with that approach.

 

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I have mixed feelings about free reading at school, TBH - teachers sometimes seem to use it instead of actually teaching.

 

I feel like the school here is kind of all mixed up.  On the one hand the kids get free reading time in class.  On the other, they don't seem to get assigned to read particular books - this is grade 6 and 7.  The kids can bring in any crappy book and read it in class.  Last year for reading logs they could include things like the back of a cereal box.

 

Anyway - I think maybe for grade 2, I'd not worry, especially if she is spending her time outdoors playing. It seems normal for kids at that age to go through stages of having different emphasis and interests, I think because their development is uneven.  And even with a kid with a higher reading level, I think that till holds true.  Playing outside is a great and healthy thing to do, and if the weather is right for it, it makes sense to spend more time on it right now.  In a bit the weather will change, or she'll change her interests or reading level a bit and new books will be available to her that will really appeal.  

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If what they want is just the kid to be reading, to get used to regular reading, I think the back of a cereal box is ideal :)  I used to read those things over adn over.

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