New readers can be very fragile. It's not a huge leap from "I can read and I love it!" to "Do I have to read that?" to " I hate reading why are you making me read that?!"
In our house, we have been having more fun, thinking critically about what we are reading and giving our son more control over his books with our Two-Chapter Rule. The rule states that every book brought home from the library must be given a chance by reading at least 2 chapters of it before deciding to proceed or give up. If you decide to give up, a new book will be chosen and if you decide to proceed you must finish said book.
The reason I started this rule was because sometimes our book choices are off and I started hearing "Mom, let's not read tonight -- I need a break from that book." He had never given up on a book before, and he didn't like the ones we'd been reading so he suggested a break. That's when I knew I needed a plan. After our next trip to the library I explained to him my idea for this rule. He loved it. And it worked.
But Does It Work?
Since we instituted our rule reading, he has been way more engaged, and critical thinking and retelling have been natural results of this rule – with more adventurous book choices, too. Knowing that he only has to read two chapters before deciding if we should read it all or reach for a new book has given him a boost in searching out new titles.
I haven't heard "Mom let's not read tonight" since.
How do you balance making reading fun while making sure your child is reading often? Share your tips and ideas on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.