Editor's note: This post was originally published on September 12, 2013.
New readers can be very fickle and 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 any book brought home from the library must be given a chance by reading at least two 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.
Why Give This Rule a Try?
The reason I started this rule was because sometimes our book choices were off and I started hearing "Mom, let's not read tonight — I need a break from that book." My son had never given up on a book before, and he didn't like the ones we had 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.
Will It Work?
Ever since we instituted our Two-Chapter Rule, my son has been way more engaged, and critical thinking and retelling have been natural results — 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.
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Check out bloggers Amy Mascott and Allie McDonald's book, Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love for Reading. Get expert advice and learn new strategies for your young readers.