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Ten Tips to Help Your Struggling Boy Reader at Home 1. Find appropriate books. The best way to learn to read is through reading! Search everywhere for easy and predictable books that your son will enjoy reading. Scour the Internet. Get suggestions from librarians and bookstore employees. Ask friends. Do everything you can to avoid books children will consider too “babyish.”

2. Use rich vocabulary in your book discussions. Because your child is an emergent reader, he isn’t getting the vocabulary enrichment that his peers are getting through their reading. That has to come from conversation, so be deliberate in your word choices.

3. Don’t discourage “pretend reading.” hen teacher Beth Smith’s son was struggling to read, she was frustrated at the lack of books on the shelves that he would be interested in reading, a situation many parents of boys often find themselves in. “Boys at the age of seven and eight who are struggling to read want to be able to read what their friends are reading: Captain Underpants, or Diary of A Wimpy Kid. But they don’t yet have the skills,” Smith says. Smith has since formed Zip Line Publishing to produce the types of books that boys want: gross humor and funny illustrations, but with words and patterns that will help them become better readers. She released her first book, Alien Dude and the Attack of Wormzilla in January of this year. Smith is also sharing this useful list for parents who want to help out at home and build their child’s confidence in his reading abilities.

This will provide your son with practice in retelling. It will also give him the opportunity to “read” successfully in front of you.

Explain what your son can and cannot do, so they won’t embarrass him by asking him to read out loud or write on the board. That could be devastating.

5. Assist your child with technology. Help them with mailing and texting family members back and forth. This is a great motivator for reading and writing.

6. Read aloud often. Literary language is different than speech. Your child needs the exposure that he isn’t getting from his independent reading. Find free readalouds online. Skype with grandparents who love to read.

7. Share the reading homework. Reading at the emergent and beginning levels can be exhausting. Try this instead: With a harder book, point to each word as you read while your son follows along. After every few words, stop reading, and point to the next word for your son to read. By doing this, he will follow along with his eyes, ears and mind, anticipating words as they appear. This is a great strategy for learning sight words.

8. Limit non-academic screen time. Set the computer to go off after an hour or two of use, then you don’t have to be the bad guy and pull him away.

9. Surround your child with words. Use books, magazines, comics, Pokemon cards, notes, calendars, greeting cards, lists, diagrams, and instructions. Go to the library often. Hang out in bookstores. Make your own books. Write lists together. Post chores on the refrigerator and review them often.

10. Boost your son’s confidence!

Book publisher, author, mom and fan of boy humor, Beth Smith

Make sure that he “overhears” you saying positive things about him to others.

4. Talk to scout leaders, Sunday school teachers, and other advisors.

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Little Ones Magazine  

A Charlotte NC area magazine targeted to modern moms.

Little Ones Magazine  

A Charlotte NC area magazine targeted to modern moms.