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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bringing Up A Reader by GAP Author Susan J. Berger



You already know about reading to your kids on a regular basis. Then comes the transition. They have to learn to read for themselves.

For some children, this isn’t easy. Some don’t learn to read on schedule. I was one of them.

I was sent down from first grade to a class called Pre Primer. (This is a grade that no longer exists. It was a transition between Kindergarten and First Grade. I still remember the walk home with the note to my mom. In pre primer I was introduced to sounding out and Dick and Jane (Boring!) But I learned and by age 8, I was already a bookaholic.

One thing that remained important for me for several years was large print and plenty of white space. It made the process of decoding so much easier.

When my sons were learning to read, I looked for those kinds of books. In the beginning stages, I also looked for funny, short and simple. I wanted them to experience an easy sense of accomplishment.


Chris had a very hard time with reading. He felt so badly that he couldn’t read in Kindergarten that he memorized a book – The Fat Cat by Jack Kent. Then he went and “read” it to his class.

I looked for “easy readers”.
The “I’m Going to Read” series has three levels http://www.sterlingpublishing.com/catalog?section_key=21-52&limit=10§ion
Level One 50 Words
Level Two 100 Words
Level Three 200 Words
These books credit an illustrator. Apparently no one wrote them – not even that good old standby “Anonymous”

“I Can Read” series http://www.icanread.com/
This series has 4 reading levels
Level One Beginning Reading
Level Two Reading with Help
Level Three Reading Alone
Level Four Advanced Reading – Chapter books for Kids
These books have both authors and illustrators



My problem with these series:

They aren’t easy enough. They encouraged learning a lot of different sounds at the same time. I thought Chris needed to work with one sound at a time. It makes decoding simpler. I used Hop on Pop which has great sound groupings.

In desperation I wrote him a book: Cat and Rat or War and Peace for the challenged reader. It’s a funny “boy” book. Someday I am going to get it published. (It’s been out a few times. I forget which publisher sent it back with a note that it was too violent. He had obviously never seen Tom and Jerry).

I told him to stop worrying. That reading would come. And it did…about second grade. He was not truly comfortable reading till third grade.

When your child became an independent reader, what was the favorite book?

Other posts you might enjoy:

How I made my child a reader
http://thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-i-made-my-kids-readers.html

Helping your homeschooler learn to read http://school.familyeducation.com/home-schooling/reading/38692.html



Susan J Berger is a writer and an actress. She’s performs in a lot of live theatre including the Broadway production of the musical "The Robber Bridegroom" and the National tour of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” Her TV appearances include M*A*S*H and Hannah Montana. She got her first series in 2009 - Warren the Ape for MTV .

Susan has three books published by GAP. JAMIE’S DREAM is written by Susan and her son Christopher Corbin and illustrated by Kim Sponaugle. EARTHQUAKE! is a non fiction book for grade 2-4, illustrated by Eugene Ruble and produced by Lynda Burch. Earthquake won an Honorable mention in the 2008 Green Book awards. Visit the website for teacher activities www.earthquake-book.com. GROWING UP DREAMS is illustrated by Samantha Bell.

Susan and her three fellow critique group members author a blog for writers visit them at http://thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com/

She is currently working on a mid grade chapter book called "Tasha The Magnificent" , a picture book called The Undertoads and an adult novel - Second Chances. Visit Susan at http://www.susanjberger.com/

You can also find out more about Susan's book Earthquake at http://www.earthquake-book.com/!

7 comments:

Nancy Stewart said...

Sue, This was so good to read. I've taught children, mainly boys, who jut weren't ready and/or were intimidated at the thought. A little time and some work on self confidence usually did the trick. Thanks.

billkirkwrites said...

Nice article, Sue. When our kids were young (toddlers and pre-school) my wife and I read the usual popular books to our kids. Probably could have done more. I consider it my misspent early parenthood.

Our daughter was and has been a better and more engaged reader. I think it was a combination of interest, inclination and just plain old habit. If you can form the reading habit early, it seems to have a better chance of sticking. How to do that is the hard part.

Pen and Ink said...

I hate to brag, but when I was a boy, I loved reading. Needless to say, next to rock stars, celebrities, sports figures, astronauts, politicians, window washers and lion tamers, boys who read books get all the girls.
Sincerely,
Rico Suave

Susan J. Berger said...

Thanks Nancy and Bill for your kind words. Both my sons like to read, but they never became the kind of bookaholic I am. For them it is more about film.
My website is down till I find a new host. Then I have to start over....Oh well...It will be a better website.

J. Aday Kennedy's A Writing Playground said...

SUSAN>
i can't remember a time I wasn't reading. I've tried to write books with few words, but never tried to write one with similar sounds for reluctant readers. You have my brain churning with ideas.
Blessings,
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
Children's Author of Klutzy Kantor & Marta's Gargantuan Wings
www.jadaykennedy.com

Susan Hornbach said...

Great article Susan. Reading is so important at an early age. It builds confidence, self esteem, and sends children on their way to handle anything the classroom demands of them. If a child can read, they feel the world is their playground. I say as a parent, make a bag full of books an accessory wherever you go. That way your child will always have a book when things get boring.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Kids are not all ready to read at the same age. It's too bad a lot of easy readers are classified by grade level. Your methods sound great.

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