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Seventh-Grader's Trouble with Reading

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: I'm a seventh-grader who has a hard time reading and understanding what I read. What do I do?

A: Keep in mind that in seventh grade the reading material has become more difficult and the amount of reading that you are required to do has increased from elementary school. There will always be times when you have to reread something, but when this happens a lot, you definitely need to change some of your reading habits. Every time you stop to reread, you lose your train of thought. Your comprehension of the content begins to fall, and your reading rate will also suffer.

Are your teachers and family aware of your reading problems? Many schools have reading teachers at the middle-school level. Make an appointment to see your counselor before school gets out and see if you can arrange to meet with the reading or language arts teacher. You may need to be tested to pinpoint specific reading problems that are affecting your comprehension. Hopefully, one of these teachers will help you learn some of the things that you should work on over the summer to improve your reading.

Many reading difficulties can be improved if you read in the best environment for you. Some people read with the TV or radio on; however, it may distract you. Also, do you read while lying down and become sleepy, or try to read in dim light? Select a reading spot where the conditions are best for you.

It takes practice to become a better reader. You must read at least 30 minutes each day this summer. Start with easy material that is fun to read before advancing to more challenging material. You will soon discover that the more you read, the easier it will be for you to read.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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