Excerpts from a Scholastic article published by LouAnne Johnson, author of The New York Times bestseller Dangerous Minds, on how to change the minds of kids who hate to read.
Children are not born with a natural aversion to reading. We know that. We see what happens when we introduce toddlers to books. They fall in love. They carry their favorites around and admire the pictures over and over again.
LouAnne formulated the following reading aversions from talking to her students and working on her teaching responses.
Reason 1: Reading Gives Them a Headache or Makes Their Eyes Hurt
Recent research suggests that nearly half of people who are labeled as learning disabled actually suffer from scotopic (light) sensitivity.
To learn more about vision therapy for problem readers, visit covd.org.
Reason 2: They Can’t Read as Fast as Their Peers (and Get Left Behind)
Allow students to read at their own pace, even if it means that those slower readers don’t cover as much ground as their quicker classmates. While they are reading at their own individual pace, they will learn to read.
Reason 3: They Fear They’ll Have to Read Out Loud and Others Will Laugh
Consider making reading aloud purely voluntary in your classroom.
Reason 4: They Expect to Be Tested on What They Read — and to Fail the Test
Give the standardized tests when you have to. But if you have the choice between testing students about their reading or giving them an opportunity to honestly respond to their reading, go for the honest response.
Reason 5: They Believe They Have to Finish Every Reading Selection, No Matter How Long or Difficult
Have you ever put down a book halfway through because it just wasn’t compelling enough to you? Yes? That’s why I suggest letting reluctant readers stop and move on to the next when they don’t like a book. Not forever. Just until they become good enough readers that reading isn’t a dreaded chore.
Reason 6: They Fear Their Opinions Will Be Wrong
So many teary students have told me about the same experience: A teacher asked them to write their opinion about a book or story. The student worked hard on his or her essays and expected high marks for effort and content. Their teachers assigned either a D or an F that was to the student inexplicable. Those teachers sent a clear message: Your opinion is worthless.
Reason 7: They Always Get Put Into the “Slow” Group, Which Makes Them Feel Stupid
If teachers can find a way to group students that doesn’t depend on their reading ability at least some of the time, I think they can avoid the situation where students correlate their intelligence to their reading group.
Reason 8: They Believe They Are Too Far Behind to Ever Catch Up
When students read below grade level, they don’t understand that increasing their skills to the next level isn’t as hard as they think. A ninth grader whose test score places him at a fourth-grade level, for example, thinks he will run out of time before he can catch up with his peers. So first explain that a grade level in reading doesn’t correspond to a calendar year. It is just a measure of how well a student reads a specific level of complexity in vocabulary and sentence structure.
Reason 9: They Have No Interest in the Material They Are Required to Read
Struggling readers will blossom if you give them material that is so interesting they can’t resist reading it. That’s the trick: finding something so compelling that students forget they are reading.
Reason 10: They Get Lost and Can’t Remember What They Have Just Read
Many struggling students who can technically read quite well don’t understand what they are reading. They somehow missed the important point that when we read we must create a mental reference. Without that reference, words are just words. One boy described his experience this way: “It’s like I’m reading one of those signs in front of the bank where the letters move. As soon as I read the words, they disappear.”
Do you need Language Arts or Reading Tutors for your organization. List job openings for free on The Tutor Report Job Listings.
Schedule and match your tutors and students using Oases Online. Request a demonstration of the oases online system and see how we match tutors with students, invoice and schedule your calendar.[divider top=”no”]