Monday, August 12, 2013

Does this Book Come with a Test?

This year I became an Archery Leader for my kids' 4H club. In my leadership training, our group was asked, "How close to the target do you have a first time or young archer stand?"

A few ventured guesses. 10 meters? 5 meters?

The answer?
As close as you need to ensure immediate success.

It should be the same with reading. There is scientific basis for many children maturing later than others. There is a higher percentage evident in the young male population. The response of many parents  and even educators is to push harder.  The result is early failure, early resistance to reading.At the 2013 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, author/speaker Jon Scieszka pointed to his own son's experience. "Jake thought every book comes with a test," he said.

Our mission as writers, educators, parents and librarians is to help kids realize that reading can be for pleasure. Scieszka challenged us to expand the definition of what reading can be. As a former elementary school teacher, he read the sports pages, comics, graphic works and collections like the Guinness Book of World Records with his reluctant readers. Many of these things come with a stigma of not being "Real Reading."

The key, though, is to engage your young reader in any way that hook them. Ensure immediate success.

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