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Reaching Reluctant Readers

by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

For those of you with more than one child, you already know that each child is different.  It’s the same with reading. You may have noticed that while Sam picked up on reading right away, sounding out the letters on the STOP sign before he was out of preschool and pointing to short words in books and saying them with ease, Sheila took her time.  Sure, she could pick out her colors like a pro and talk your ear off while counting to 500; but show her a book, and she clammed up.

You try new books.  You try letting her pick out new books.  You try and try and try until you can’t think of anything else to do. What’s your next step?

Take a step back. Stop trying to make her read.  Sheila is like a fine wine.  She will not read before her time. Just read to her, relax with her, snuggle, and enjoy the moment without pushing her to read.

Looking for some titles to try in June? Consider these:


Faster, Faster! by Leslie Patricelli (Candlewick Press, 2012), $15.99. A day at the park. A ride on Daddy’s back. Run, Daddy! Faster! Faster! How fast can Daddy go? Faster than a dog? A horse? How about a cheetah? Must his feet even touch the ground? Leslie Patricelli reprises the duo from “Higher! Higher!” in another humorous riff on a favorite pastime.  A laugh-out-loud-funny tale of few words about doting dads and high-energy kids whose imaginations know no bounds.


Kingfisher Readers: Colorful Coral Reefs by Thea Feldman (Kingfisher, 2012), $3.99.  Is your child ready for reading?  If so, help her get a jump start with this Level 1 reader.  Short, simple words with vivid pictures to help your child understand teach your child about living coral reefs and the animals that call them home.  A glossary in the back of the book helps identify words and their meanings.

Kingfisher Readers: What Animals Eat by Brenda Stone and Thea Feldman (Kingfisher, 2012), $3.99.  Ever wondered what an elephant or giraffe eats for dinner?  It’s all in this Level 2 reader.  Vivid photographs combine with longer sentences to enhance your child’s reading and understanding.

Kingfisher Readers: Weather by Anita Ganeri (Kingfisher, 2012), $3.99.  What will you do if it rains?  What are some fun things to do on windy days?  This Level 4 reader challenges readers with longer sentences and a more sophisticated vocabulary.  Readers are encouraged to visualize new concepts by reading descriptions and looking at photographs and graphics.

Kingfisher Readers: Volcanoes by Claire Llewellyn and Thea Feldman (Kingfisher, 2012), $3.99.  Starting with the simple question, “What is a volcano?” this book teaches young readers all about eruptions, lava flows, where volcanoes are in the world, and which volcanoes are safe to visit.  The sentences become more complex in this Level 3 reader, forming paragraphs and using a more specialized vocabulary.  Red Hot Facts are on every page along with captions and page headers.


Kingfisher Readers: Ancient Egyptians

by Philip Steele (Kingfisher, 2012), $3.99.  Readers will be in awe as they discover what’s hidden in Egyptian tombs, who the boy king was, and what a mysterious statue that has the body of a lion and the face of a king is.  This Level 5 reader strengthens reading skills with its longer text, sophisticated vocabulary, and complex ideas.

Through Time Olympics: From Ancient Greece to the Present Day by Richard Platt (Kingfisher, 2012), $16.99.  Just in time for the 2012 Summer Games, introduce your kids to the greatest, fastest athletes in the world through this comprehensive book.  You may learn a thing or two as well, as you read about the beginning of the Olympic Games, the cities the Games are held in, and facts and records of the outstanding athletes.


Calico Joe by John Grisham (Knopf Doubleday, 2012), $24.95.   “Calico Joe” Castle’s life changed as the lives of sportsmen usually do – with an injury.  The 21-year-old was suddenly called from his Cubs AA team to the “show.”  And, he created quite a buzz.  A perfect gift for the baseball-loving dads in your life. 

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Tags: Education, Featured Story

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