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Discipline and "forced" reading practice?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Or GD style has worked so well for our family that (now that DC is 9) I hardly even think in terms of "how we discipline". In general we're a kind of speak your mind and find a solution type family (not so much positive discipline or CC -- more like just be real and respectful).

As well as everything has been going, I realized this morning that we could use some help with reading.

DC is in 3rd grade at a public school. She's "behind" on reading, which I believe is due to her not practicing at home. She does't really like reading but I feel that she still needs to practice (and I think she agrees).

I sympathize with her tremendously because she goes to school from 9-nearly 4 and there seems like little time to play with toys and visit with neighbors as it is. However, she is a public school kid and I don't think even she is "ok" with being behind and it will start to creep into other aspects of school very soon.

What works best for our family is to identify a "problem" and then all come up with a solution together. I credit this system to a pretty great home life for everyone.

This does not seem to be working for reading during the school year. I'm also getting this vibe that DC may respond better to me taking the lead on this.

What are your thoughts?
post #2 of 23
I like the idea of coming together as a family to reach a solution - kudos to you! What have you come up so far that hasn't worked?

Here are a few ideas:
  • DD reads to you at night before bedtime.
  • DD reads to herself before bedtime.
  • Choose a few days a week for reading time. Everyone sits down together to read.

Maybe bring these ideas to your next family meeting. Maybe she'll like one. I hope this helps!
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
The thing is that that's what we always do - and, obviously, that works. In this case, however, I think a more "parents dictate the situation" arrangement may be in order.

I guess in our house the role if decision making may come with other responsibilities (like the responsibility to hold up your end of the arrangement) and that is what DC is struggling with.

For the record, this is not the first time that DC has indicated that her role in the decision making isn't working for her. At times (few, but significant nonetheless) DC has asked me to just "be strict".

I think that for some kids the role of decision making, following through, "keeping your end of the deal", self discipline and etc. can be challenging and perhaps too much responsibility.

For DC these times are rare but I think this may be one of those times.

I'm sure there is a better way for me to explain this but I'm at a loss right now.

BTW, it's perhaps important to note that DC does not have homework at her school.
post #4 of 23
I never had to encourage my oldest to read, she loves it and is an avid reader. My other two are more active, and while they like reading there are often just other things they'd prefer to do. I find it helpful that our kids' school requires a certain amount of reading time for kids Monday through Thursday as part of their homework (they fill out a log and return it, signed, on Fridays). For my 9 year old son, for example, it's 15 minutes a day--it's long enough to practice, but not too long. Plus the requirement makes it just part of the daily routine.

A couple of things work for us. One is to use a timer. Our kids know that they have to read for at least 15 minutes, and with the timer they can be in charge of keeping track of that time. Another is to have a routine. One of mine reads in bed every night. One prefers to do hers soon after school. For one, it works best for him if we say he has to finish his reading before doing certain other things that he'd prefer to do (example: if he wants to play a video game, he needs to have his homework, reading, and chores done first).

Another thing that helps is to spend time looking for books that they really love. One of mine really only likes funny, goofy books like Bad Kitty. One likes funny, silly books with lots of action (bonus points for crude humor)--like Nathan Abercrombie Accidental Zombie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Franny K. Stein, Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger, or How to Train Your Dragon. He also enjoys graphic novels and scary books (like the Goosebumps series). One is into books about growing up, girls and friends, dragons, magic.

Awhile back I ran across a website with lists of books that appeal to reluctant readers, unfortunately I can't remember the name. You can probably find lists like this online, or you could ask your local librarian. One thing that I notice with my two who are less into reading is that books that are just giant walls of text do not appeal to them. They want something like the Dragonbreath** books that have plenty of text, but that also have funny pictures/drawings that break up that text. A book like this is more manageable, less overwhelming. (And these books are just funny.)

**(Also in this style, with pictures breaking up text: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Geronimo Stilton, Franny K. Stein, How to Train Your Dragon, Captain Underpants, Zombiekins, and probably lots more that I can't remember at the moment. Maybe Time Warp Trio, which my kids enjoyed but we haven't read in quite some time.)
post #5 of 23
Well, since she's asking for you to take the lead then this is what I might suggest...

YOU come up with the amount of time and types of activities she needs to work on - make it as fun as possible but still work on the necessary skills - this will take some work on your part -

Let her know she needs to put in the expected time/work but you are open to scheduling ideas (not alot of room given her day)

It's not popular around here but 'rewards' of sorts work really well for my dd (1st gr) I could not get her to study her spelling words at first and all it took was:
1) a few choices in how we would do that (computer, orally, her quizzing ME)
2) After her short study time she could watch one episode of cyber chase on my lap top (pbs show no longer aired locally)

This was huge - now she asks ME to study and is seeing the benefits and being more successful

Rewards don't have to be big/involved things or food/material related - but just the 'fun' thing she gets to do after the not so fun thing - and sometimes that all it takes to motivate

I do this with myself all the time - do the chore (take cat to vet) reward thyself with a stop at the cafe
post #6 of 23
Reading is part of the bedtime routine for our kids in grades 1 and 3. Ds is supposed to read for 30 minutes a night, dd 20 minutes.

So, the bedtime routine looks like this:
  • Pjs
  • Snack
  • Independent reading (we set the timer for 10-15 minutes and the kids read independently for that time). They sit on the couch and dh and I are right there doing things on our computers.
  • Brush teeth
  • Mom or dad reads out loud (usually one chapter of a book for each child). This usually takes about 10 minutes.
  • Prayers
  • Bed
  • Kids read in bed until they are sleepy. This can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 60 minutes.
Because it's part of the bedtime routine, this time is pretty inviolable. The kids also really enjoy being allowed to 'stay up' a bit and read in bed. We don't track the time too exactly, but as far as I can tell, they usually get over the minimum.

When ds was in first grade, he was a reluctant reader. He really really didn't want to do the reading. That's when we came up with the system of splitting the required time between him reading to us and us reading to him. We figured (and his teacher agreed) that it didn't really matter as long as he was getting the exposure.

Make sure too, that the books are well within her comfort range. If they're 'below' grade level, that's OK. What you want is fluency. Relatively easy text with predictable plots are great for that. My daughter gained a huge amount of fluency this summer reading the Rainbow Magic books. I hate them, but she loved them. (They're probably too young for your daughter in terms of content, but there are other series out there that should fill the same role for an 8 year old.)

Another thing to think about: Is your daughter a struggling reader because she doesn't practice, or does she not want to practice because reading is too difficult for her. 3rd grade is when a lot of kids get identified for reading disabilities (e.g., dyslexia, visual coordination issues, needing glasses) because it should be getting easier and it's not. If she's not improving after you figure out a system for her reading consistently, then I would say you might want her tested.
post #7 of 23
Cut off the electronics.....except audio books, reading devices, and become a reading family.

I might allow a little computer time to go to starfall.com

Slower readers sometimes are slow because the lack skill, sometimes is the lack books they like to read.
post #8 of 23
My oldest DD is dyslexic and had difficulty with reading in the early grades but loved being read to. I'd let her pick the book, she would read one chapter aloud then I'd read the next two before bed.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the all input, everyone!

I think we may have had a break through today!!! I think that what may be *not* working for us is the timing thing. I think that I/we've heard SO much about the amount of time a kid reads that we were a little suck in that mentality. What would happen is that DC would sit for her designated time and so much of it would be spent, switching books, getting up for snack, asking various questions and etc. that things would devolve.

What I've decided is that we're going to read a set amount. I am going to give DC a goal for the day. I essentially "told" her this today and she seemed quite down with the idea and comfortable with me calling the shots. Her goal will be filled partially by me asking her to make time for reading throughout the day and the rest will be finished at 7:30, when she starts unwinding for the day.

I'm a bit worried about the night reading because that hasn't worked for us in the past. It's been a while since we've tried it and it seems to work well for many of you - I've/we'll give it a shot.

We have plenty of books (all the ones mentioned essentially) but I'll admit that they're not all that well organized. They seem to be everywhere and nowhere, iykwim. We've misplaced so many of the books DC has started.

Re: learning disabilities. I think it is possible that DC may have a mild disability. This summer I worked with her based on advice for helping kids with dyslexia. We did the Reading Reflex book and are still on the advanced strategies section...moving way slower now that school started.

I also think that the reading strategy that they use in school may not work well for DC. The phonemic awareness style seems to be more her speed. She seems to be getting it with this work - now if we can just finish the vowel digraphs.

It is, however, getting easier. Well she doesn't seem to enjoy it any more but she definitely is making steady progress.

Re: electronics. DC doesn't do much of that and really nothing on the week days. She would devour books on tape, which we actually limited a bit because she can stay up till 11 listening. DH & I do watch some TV after DC goes to bed...I'm hesitant to give that up.

I'm not opposed to the occasional aware system. We've used it a couple of times with success. I did actually try it with reading and it didn't work for some reason. I think rewards only work for DC if it is a very short term issue (giving up the pacifier, for instance). If it's an on-going issue DC tends to get very "award focused" and it goes down hill.

Re: fluency. That is what DC struggles most with (fluency in the "learning to read" definition). However, she doesn't seem all that interested in reading books below her level. I told her that we are going to experiment with this idea for fluency: She will read a short book (kids 60 or so pager) over the course of 2 days. On the 3rd day she will re-read that book in one day as her reading assignment. Hopefully that will help with the fluency issue.

Thanks for all your ideas - keep 'em coming!!

I'll post again with the results from this new experiment.
post #10 of 23
what kind of a learner is she?

whole language or phoenetic. whole language is knowing a word and then trying to match a word. so if they are not familiar with teh word they guess at what it is rather than trying to sound it out.

phonetic readers sound out unfamiliar words.

if the weakness is phonetics then i would refer you to www.headsprout.com - it is an online reading problem and my dd and quite a few kids have used it. my dd is in 3rd grade too but she had problems in K. its because she was a whole language learner and hated to do any phonetics. i invested in that program to get dd good grounding and she took off. when she DID get interested in reading in first grade she just zoomed off. however still today if she sees an unfamiliar word instead of sounding it out she guesses as she reads the word. and right at the end reads it phonetically.

from what you write headsprout might be a great resource for you if you are willing to shell out the $$$s. i think however you might have to begin in the beginning.

something that i have noticed with the kids in dd's class when i helped them read what held them back was not really knowing, understanding the techniques of reading. all the rules and nuances they have to remember.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Meemee, DC is a phonemic reader. I'm not 100% clear on how phonemics and phonics are different but I can say that phonics did not work for DC, nor did whole word reading but phonemics did really seem to click with her.

Phonemics from what I can tell having worked with DC deals more with the all the possible sounds of each letter. It seems to be less "gimmicky" and less "rule" orientated than phonics. If that makes sense.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Ok, I tried to look up phonemics and phonics and I'm not sure of the distinction. What I can say is that the method in Reading Reflex is quite different from traditional phonics instruction. DC's teacher seems to know the difference and the book Reading Reflex makes the distinction but I can't find any source on-line.
post #13 of 23
Audio books! That helps with fluency, vocabulary, and falling in love with stories. And make reading fun--trips to the library or bookstore, buying fun bookmarks, the whole family sitting down to read at the same time, etc

Also have you had her vision checked?
post #14 of 23
What I've decided is that we're going to read a set amount.
I think this is a good idea.
post #15 of 23
What has worked very well for us is that we make weekly trips to the public library. The kids can pick out any books they want to read. We leave with a tote bag.

What is trendy now is the "just right" books thing, which nearly turned our younger child into a non-reader. The teacher and librarian monitor the children's choice of library books and will only allow the kids to check out books that the librarian or teacher think it the right level. I noticed that my kid would bring home the same two books from the school library and never read them.

When she could pick her own books from teh library, she was much more interested. If they were too hard, we'd read them together. If they were too easy, it improved fluency. I'm of the opinion that so long as they are reading, it's all good.

When dd found the Twilight series (shudder), her reading level went up in a quantum leap. She loves those books went from reading chapter books to those novels overnight. So I do think interest in the material makes a huge difference.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
EFmom, I totally agree with the just right books. It does seem to be some creepy trend - a very "one size fits all" philosophy that gets under my skin.

A&A, yes, vision checked and DC loves audio books. Her comprehension and vocabulary is quite above grade level but her fluency is below grade level. (according to her teachers) DC loves audio books to the point of us needing to restrict them somewhat, as I said in a PP...she would literally stay up all night with the right audio book.

For now, for tonight, for this golden moment the set amount is WORKING like CRAZY! DC read tonight and was ENJOYING it!! It was so nice to see. She did not complain about "how much longer" and read long enough to start to get into the book. In fact, she read 10 more pages than I asked her to read.

What I realized is that adult readers don't tend to time themselves...we tend to have the goal to just.finish.the.book! I think this is helping DC feel like a reader. Or something???

Whatever it is it worked today and for that I am grateful. I will keep checking in with you all on our progress. What a great thing if such a small tweek in the process ends up solving a large part of the problem. Can you tell I've got my hopes up?

Oh, and I realized another thing...I can tweek the amount I set for her by the pace of our life. If I feel that DC is tearing through a book I can set the goal to read more. If we're stressed and DC is struggling I can set the goal smaller.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
I think this is a good idea.

So far it feels like a miracle cure!!
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
And, btw, thank you for all the suggestions to read before bed. I know this is pretty obvious but we had abandoned the idea a long time ago because I felt that DC was not able to properly concentrate that late in the day. I ruled it out to the point of having "forgotten" about the idea. Turns out, she was at her prime this evening! Maybe she found that balance between concentrating and relaxing, which I feel (and have read) is so essential to getting in the grove of reading.
post #19 of 23
I took the lead on daily reading practice for my dd when I noticed that she wasn't making any progress at her grade level, she wasn't behind but she also wasn't improving and she started out in school way ahead. I let her pick some very easy books that were below her reading level then moved to funny ones at her reading level and she got the confidence she needed to make reading very enjoyable. She moved way ahead of her grade level and is continuing to do so while enjoying it. Once she got the confidence and found some good books I rarely had to push daily reading, it was something she found enjoyable. I also allowed her to stay up as late as she wanted to on weekends on the condition that she was reading, if she stopped she had to turn out the light. We don't have anywhere to be in the morning so that has worked really well.
post #20 of 23
Another thing that also worked beautifully for us was to read together. Usually it would be books that were slightly harder than was confortable for my kids. I remember many pleasant nights of snuggling together reading the Little House books. We'd alternate reading the chapters out loud. Some of my best mothering moments!
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