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He Hates Reading!

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

Q: My fourth-grade son is a straight-A student but hates to read. Could the problem be that he is not a good reader? We read 20 to 30 minutes every night and he gets so frustrated. He frequently stops and backs up a couple of words and repeats them. He doesn't stop reading when he gets to a period, he just keeps going. He sticks words in that aren't even there. I can't figure out what is causing him to do these things. I think he might enjoy reading if he weren't so frustrated. Any suggestions?

A: Your son may hate to read because he has some reading problems. At the very least, he is a poor oral reader. You need solid information about his reading skills, because it will be difficult for him to continue being such an excellent student if he really isn't a good reader.

Make an appointment to discuss your son's reading with his teacher. Talk about how frustrating he finds it to read aloud with you. Ask the teacher if he or she has noticed similar problems in the classroom. Also, find out if there are any informal reading tests that the teacher could do to pinpoint any areas that need to be improved, or if further testing is indicated.

Reading time with children should never be a frustrating ordeal -- it just kills their desire to read. You need to lighten things up. Forget about his reading to you for a while. Instead, read to him every night. Not only will it increase his interest in reading, it will also give him a better idea of how to read with expression. And more importantly, it will rekindle an interest in reading.

Besides reading to your son, find some easy materials and read them aloud together for 10 minutes each evening. Have him sit slightly in front of you so you are reading into his right ear. As you read, either he or you can slide a finger under each word as it is read. As he begins to find it easier to read aloud, choose more difficult materials. Within a couple of months, you should notice considerable improvement in his reading. Plus, your reading time will now be enjoyable.

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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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