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Third-Grader Won't Read
Q: My third-grader is not reading again. I spent a lot of money over this past winter having my son remediated through Huntington Learning Center in Pennsylvania. He brought his reading ability up to a 4.6 grade level. But now that he's no longer enrolled at the center I can't get him to read at home. I'm worried that he'll lose what he's learned. He has ADHD/ODD with LD in writing and reading comprehension. Any advice?
A: If your son has reading comprehension difficulties, it's not surprising that he's not taking pleasure in reading on his own. Is there a topic or a special author he has enjoyed reading about in the past? Comprehension is easier if you already have some prior knowledge about the topic of your book. Is your son a sports fan or does he enjoy reading about wildlife? Sports Illustrated for Kids or Ranger Rick Magazine are good choices for many unmotivated readers.
Try reading a book together, with you reading the first chapter or first few pages to draw him into the story.
Model for your son the process you go through when you read. Comment on twists and turns in the plot or how you get information about the characters in the story from things they say and do, or things others say about them.
Try play-reading together, with each of you assuming different roles. Curriculum Associates (1-800-225-0248) is a good place to look for plays. Have a look at the Reader's Theatre series, for example.
Ask your school librarian for suggestions for books that your son might enjoy. Many boys, for example, really love books by Jon Scieszka. Check out his website for suggestions.
Many school districts or libraries hold contests during the summer months where kids are rewarded for reading books of their choice. Check with your son's teacher to see what's going on in your school.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.