We had the pleasure of speaking with JoEllen McCarthy (@JoEllenMcCarthy) about encouraging a passion for reading on our latest WPED program. Aside from the plethora of information that JoEllen has at her fingertips, she has a magical way of delivering it with enthusiasm and fun! If you haven’t had the opportunity to see her present, do yourself a favor and mark your calendar for any upcoming events. Her website with dates, blog posts, and many links to the resources she shares can be found here:
Check out our latest program where we discuss encouraging a passion for reading for all students. We talk about the importance of a learning community that incorporates teachers, students, and parents. Also discussed is the transition from elementary to middle school and the needs students have as they grow. Resources are shared throughout the discussion – making this a fun-packed, information rich program!
While taking a break from the hot sun, I read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney to my youngest two. A few pages in, the little girl tells her grandfather how she too will travel to faraway places and live by the sea, just as he did. Her grandfather replies, “There is a third thing you must do, you must do something to make the world more beautiful.”
This sparked a long conversation with my two chatterboxes…what would they do to make the world more beautiful? Some of their responses (text images created by them):
My 6 year old son…
My 9 year old daughter…
Here is why I love reading with my children…for one, quiet time sitting with them; a nice balance to the craziness of our usual running around. Two, I love listening to their different perspectives when talking about the story (be it their age, gender, personality or whatnot). For my son it was all visual. Beauty to him is what he can see/touch. For my daughter it was more about doing things that would make others happy. With most every story we read comes a conversation. I not only learn from and about them, but so many times it fuels ideas of things to do with them when we do have some down time.
Before summer vacation started I asked all three of my children to come up with a way to give back/do for others (it didn’t have to be big or grand). We try to volunteer throughout the year – but it’s usually me telling them how or what we will be doing. This time, I wanted to leave it up to them. Well…a month into the summer and it is this book/conversation that has sparked some ideas. They’ve chosen (when we return home) to combine their “making the world more beautiful” with giving back. We will be planting flowers for a few moms (grandmoms) that might not otherwise have pretty flowers to look at and find a hospital where we can bring (as my daughter puts it) books with pretty pictures to kids that are sick. As I asked, nothing grand…just ideas from their heart.
I am not a fan of incentives…especially for something so important to learning and success (be it financial, emotional, social) as reading is. Before giving in to incentives, I think we need try to make reading fun. Build a reading nook, act out scenes together, write a letter to the author, read together out loud, visit a location, make a craft or cook up something related to the story, or form a book club with friends. BUT….for those kids that don’t have that passion to read, if providing them with an incentive entices them to read, I think the pros outweigh the cons.
Reading incentives are aplenty out there. They don’t cost you a dime. Below is a list of a few national businesses that offer incentives if your child reads. Please add any others in you might know of in the comment section. And, don’t forget to check out your local library.
Need some reading suggestions? Some of my fave sites….
www.pragmaticmom.com – search & read reviews
http://www.lexile.com/fab/ – search by reading level or grade
http://pagescorner.com/storycraft-box/ – purchase book with a related craft kit
Get ideas on inspiring kids to read can be found in the archives of the #PTchat conversation on “Encouraging the Love of Reading Beyond the Required Text”
I am not associated with or compensated by any of these websites or companies.