Linda Gambrell, distinguished professor of education at Clemson University, shares the following research-based tips for turning early readers’ hesitation into enthusiasm:
- Allow students to choose their own books. Select a handful of age-appropriate books about themes in which the child has expressed interest. Help the child read the backs of the books, look at the pictures or chapter titles, and predict what the book might be about. Explain that adults select books based on recommendations, book reviews, or simply because the book catches their attention on the shelf, and that the child can go through this process too.
- Give the student an opportunity to talk about what he or she is reading. Not only do children like to talk about books they've read, research suggests that talking to others about a text improves cognitive functioning and memory.
- Set aside reading time. Research consistently indicates that the more a person reads, the more their reading skills improve. Students should have time set aside during the school day for pleasure reading as well as designated time at home. The text itself is less important than the child’s level of engagement with it.
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