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Boring repetitive books

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

My son is in kindergarten, and he has to read these boring "Sam" books. They're so lame! "See Sam. See Mit. Sam is a mess," etc.... He hates them, and I hate making him read them. He gets bored, and he squirms and pretends he can't read them, or he reads really slowly. He's supposed to read them every night, and it's a battle.

 

I know repetition helps kids learn to read. I also know that part of life is doing things that you don't want to do. However, this isn't a chore. It's reading, and I want him to enjoy it. I think these books are taking all the joy out of it.

 

I read aloud to him a lot. I always have, and he loves being read to. His reading skills are fine for his age.

 

I might just stop the books. Maybe I should talk to his teacher first so she thinks I'm crazy instead of negligent.

 

What would you do?

post #2 of 22

 

That sounds awful. It also doesn't sound like any kindergarten I'm familiar with since Dr. Seuss came along. They were phasing out those kind of readers when I was in kindergarten in the 1960's. I have dim memories of looking at my older sister's reader and it sounds similar.  

 

Definitely speak (gently) with the teacher. I'd start by asking about what books are available to the students. If there is a wider variety in the class or school library, find out if the children know they are available. If there isn't anything else, I'd send in books from home. My kids used to bring in books from home to share with the class during circle time. They loved it when other kids did the same. Often they would then borrow from each other. It was great for exposure to all sorts of new reading material. 

 

 

 

 

post #3 of 22

Repetition is good for some kids but not for others. I'd just have him read the book once when it comes home and then just let it go. There are tons of great early readers that are funny and clever for him to read on his own. Certainly keep reading too him from all sorts of material. I wouldn't stress too much about reading the Sam books every night. Personally, I wouldn't likely tell the teacher unless she asks you about it.

 

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BamBam'sMom View Post
His reading skills are fine for his age.

 

Did his teacher tell you that? There are some books like that available in DS' room. The only kids still getting them at this point are the ones who are really struggling. I would try to find out how much he actually knows how to read (by asking him to read some more interesting books for emergent readers) and how it compares with the school's standards before I decided that they were too easy for him.
 

 

post #5 of 22
yeah that to the above.

As to crazy vs. negligent I still struggle with that question. I shouldn't as I am pretty sure they have decided I am crazy on all fronts. eyesroll.gif
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies and the advice!

 

Yes, his teacher told me he's doing fine with reading. I wouldn't say he's ahead, but he's not behind. He went into K knowing a few letters, unable to write his name (he has always been resistant to learning at home). He got all Es (Exceeds) on reading skills.

 

All the kids have to read the Sam books. They go at their own pace. There are 50 of them. They bring one home, read it, and bring it back to exchange for a new one once they have it "mastered." He's on #22, and most of the other kids are ahead of him. I don't make him read them every night, because it's such a pain.

 

They get a "special treat" when they finish the 50 books. The teacher is really into rewards, which I'm not happy about. Isn't learning to read a reward, without a treat?

post #7 of 22

You could also look at the Bob books series--www.bobbooks.com is the website, I believe.  They are also a series of simple, sequential readers, but they're kind of funny and the line drawings always appealed to my kids.  As a parent I like the Reading Between the Lions book about children's reading.  You might find that referenced on the PBS website.

 

I don't really see this as a big issue, unless I'm missing something?  You could read the book with your ds, have him read it back to you, and move on to whatever other reading he does with you.  Kids really benefit from both reading aloud, and being read to.  If he's less than 1/2 way through the series at school, is that because you don't have him do the reading, or because he is having some difficulty?  You said it's a battle to get him to read?  Could be that it's hard for him, or that he's just not ready to read yet.  I know that the particular level you're describing would be low for 2/3 of the way through kindy, at our school, at least.  I only mention that because if he's needing skill practice, it's worth finding some way to do it with him.

 

ETA: re: the rewards.  Learning to read may feel like a reward to some kids, but others who either struggle, or aren't interested may not find reading in kindy intrinsically rewarding.  

post #8 of 22

How about creative ways to get through the boring books. For example: You read them to him, and you make a random mistake on every 2nd or 3rd page. If he can catch your mistake, he "passes" that book and can exchange it for another. That tells you that he's able to decode the books, but without forcing him to work his way through it. Kids love to catch their parents' mistakes! Or you read one word, he reads the next. Or you read one page, he reads the next....

 

If he's getting all Es, I wouldn't hesitate to tell the teacher that those boring books are sucking the joy out of reading for him, and ask if there there is something else he can read that would spark his interest more?

post #9 of 22

Given your update, I would consider whether he has something keeping him from reading or isn't interested. I'm actually not a fan of delayed academics in general, as I know many here are, but I have seen one child who just resisted reading until about age 8. His parents eventually pulled him to homeschool so that he didn't have any pressure on him to learn to read. At 10, he reads on grade level. 

 

How often do you work on the reading? How often can they exchange books? Being at #22 by this point in the year means he's only going through one book a week. Maybe he feels left behind if the other kids are far ahead of him. We are supposed to read a book every night. If other kids are doing that, then his resistance could be that every time you get the book out, he is reminded that he's behind.

 

Do you think he's actually pretending to miss things or reading slowly on purpose? (This is the second time this week I've posted this thought.) You don't say that he's demonstrating his reading elsewhere, so how do you know he's pretending? Maybe he isn't but feels your frustration (and I get it, I found it downright painful to listen to some of DS' early book reading attempts). I'm always careful not to tell my kids that I think they know something or should know it because I don't want them to feel badly if they *don't* know it.

 

As for rewards, I don't think that the occasional reward is harmful. After all, I work because I get paid. I often learn interesting facts while researching, but I don't want that to compensate me, rather than actual money. So, a child learns to read but also gets a sticker or piece of candy. As long as everything isn't tied to it, then I don't think it's a problem. 

post #10 of 22

d some fun easier readers and ways to practice.

 

-Elephant and piggie series! If these are to hard for him you be one of the characters and have him be the other. These books are a ton of fun!

-we both read series http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_19?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=read+together+books&sprefix=read+together+books#/ref=sr_kk_2?

rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Awe+both+read+level+k&keywords=we+both+read+level+k&ie=UTF8&qid=1301152006

- toddler board books (brown bear, brown bear, the very busy spider, etc.) 

-do a scavenger hunt or make other simple notes for him to read. We read that book "going on a bear hunt" and then I had this little stuffed bear that i hid around the house and wrote little clues on where to find him. My son loved it!

-nora gaydo's early reader sets. 

-have him read just the title in the books you read to him

-get the book "Games for reading" by Peggy Kay 

 

My oldest was the same way with reading. She was right on target, but just totally uninerested in learning to read. Once she matured a little (around age 7) and got over the boring easy  reader hump she took to reading a lot more! She also is a bit of a perfectionist, so until she felt she could read well she was not super into it. Oh, and I second talking to the teacher. Are the books to easy? to hard? Does she have anything more fun to read? I know in my sons K class, even the first level of reading has a large variety of books, about all subjects.   

post #11 of 22


"He hates them," says it all.

 

I would definitely talk to the teacher.  While there is value in repetition when learning to read, there is more value in building a love of reading.  I would try to find some books he would enjoy and offer them as a substitute to the teacher.

post #12 of 22

Another alternative, if you can't read them with your ds at home, is to see if the books could be read at school with the teacher, perhaps even with another child.  Sometimes things are more fun if done with a friend, or more easily agreed to if done in the classroom setting.  It's worth finding out how integral these books are to the curriculum.  If they are just books used to encourage kids to read at home, I wouldn't worry too much about it.  Most teachers just want to know that kids are reading something at home with parents (IE the book in a bag program).

 

If however, these are readers that are reinforcing concepts/skills, and kids really are moving through them as they progress on to first grade, I'd put more effort into making sure your ds has the needed skills practice.

post #13 of 22

With a mandatory highly repetitive reader, I'd just have ds read each word that appears in the book and move on.

 

So if you have: "See Sam. Sam is big. Sam is sad. Big, sad, Sam runs. See Sam run. etc etc etc etc"

 

I'd just see if your ds can read see, Sam, is, big, sad, runs.  If he can read them all easily, and generally has no problem reading words that are all together on a page, then he could read the book if it wasn't boring.

 

 

Er, I mean while you're waiting to sort things out with the teacher or if the teacher is stubborn about things.

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

With a mandatory highly repetitive reader, I'd just have ds read each word that appears in the book and move on.

 

So if you have: "See Sam. Sam is big. Sam is sad. Big, sad, Sam runs. See Sam run. etc etc etc etc"

 

I'd just see if your ds can read see, Sam, is, big, sad, runs.  If he can read them all easily, and generally has no problem reading words that are all together on a page, then he could read the book if it wasn't boring.

 

 

Er, I mean while you're waiting to sort things out with the teacher or if the teacher is stubborn about things.


I think this is good advice. Just skip some of the books. But you could see if he knows the featured words in other contexts. If he can identify the words well enough to move on to the next book, that's enough. I'm sure they aren't having literary discussions about these gems in class.

 

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BamBam'sMom View Post

All the kids have to read the Sam books. They go at their own pace. There are 50 of them. They bring one home, read it, and bring it back to exchange for a new one once they have it "mastered." He's on #22, and most of the other kids are ahead of him. I don't make him read them every night, because it's such a pain.

 

 

How does the teacher know when they have mastered a book? Does your son have to read it aloud to her at school? Or can he just exchange the book once you have decided he can read it well?

 

Have you looked at other books at the library? He might find something he likes better there. Although I'm not sure any other early reading books are going to be any more exciting. My kids did the Bob books and those sound just the same as the Sam ones. Like "This is Mutt. This is Matt. Mutt can sit. Matt can sit." They also got Word Bird books and those were more of the same 'Swim up. Swim up. Swim down. Swim down", etc. My youngest did like the "We Both Read" series which I think someone mentioned already.

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

With a mandatory highly repetitive reader, I'd just have ds read each word that appears in the book and move on.

 

So if you have: "See Sam. Sam is big. Sam is sad. Big, sad, Sam runs. See Sam run. etc etc etc etc"

 

I'd just see if your ds can read see, Sam, is, big, sad, runs.  If he can read them all easily, and generally has no problem reading words that are all together on a page, then he could read the book if it wasn't boring.

 

 

Er, I mean while you're waiting to sort things out with the teacher or if the teacher is stubborn about things.


The only problem I would see with this approach, and it depends on how his teacher uses the books, is that DS' teacher uses the basic readers to introduce "how" to read a sentence with flow, inflection, etc. They discuss question marks, exclamation points, etc., and how that affects the way one reads a sentence. We have an anthology of the old Dick & Jane books, and even in those, there are indicators for expressive reading. So the words themselves are important, but the flow of the words matters, too. I personally like reading outside of these readers, too, because even remotely perceptive kids will pick up on the language pattern and read that rather than the words.

 

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post




The only problem I would see with this approach, and it depends on how his teacher uses the books, is that DS' teacher uses the basic readers to introduce "how" to read a sentence with flow, inflection, etc. They discuss question marks, exclamation points, etc., and how that affects the way one reads a sentence. We have an anthology of the old Dick & Jane books, and even in those, there are indicators for expressive reading. So the words themselves are important, but the flow of the words matters, too. I personally like reading outside of these readers, too, because even remotely perceptive kids will pick up on the language pattern and read that rather than the words.

 

I got the impression from the OP that the class wasn't doing anything else with the readers. (Which seems odd, because the I See Sam readers are mentioned in a few homeschooling blogs and apparently have a whole little program with activities.)

 

He's not getting any benefit if all they're doing is trudging through the books as fast as can be. He'll get better practice with fluency and expression with books he loves at his level.

 

post #18 of 22

aaaaaaaaah the attack of the decodable books.

 

i believe (even though OP didnt say it) that the teacher perhaps has the whole class read it once.

 

ugh. we just ignored them. meaning we were supposed to read them every day. every week seh got one book.

 

we were supposed to read them 10 times. 

 

they were a joke.

 

if dd could read them once without tripping i wouldnt make her read anymore.

 

however since the teacher insisted she had to read them 10 times the harder ones i'd have her read maybe 3 times (mainly to focus on spelling) but the rest all got 10 check marks. 

 

many of the families did that too. 

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yeah, he reads them to the teacher or a parent volunteer when he brings them back. Luckily, there is no set amount of times we're supposed to read them. 10 times would be horrible!

 

I think I'm going to make him read them every other night, and only make him read them once or twice. I know he won't read to the volunteer the way he reads to me. I just feel like there will so many boring things he'll have to do later in school. I can't set a precedent that he doesn't have to do things just because they're boring.

 

And I need to be more patient. It's just frustrating when it's bedtime and he makes a two minute book take ten minutes. I know, I should start earlier or something.

 

Thanks everyone!

 

 

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BamBam'sMom View Post

 

And I need to be more patient. It's just frustrating when it's bedtime and he makes a two minute book take ten minutes. I know, I should start earlier or something.

 

 


Oh, I hear you on that. My 1st grader is in speech therapy and we have to practice his S sounds every day, so sort of a similar situation to practicing reading. I always say that I'm going to do his speech early and then all of a sudden, it is after 8 pm and we still haven't done it. If you figure out some good system to make sure you do things before bedtime, let me know.
 

 

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