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My 9 year old daughter, who can read very well, is not interested in challenging books. I know she is up to chapter, but is not interested in reading them at all. She still prefers to read Dr. Seuss level books. How can I get her interested in something more challenging?


Roberta Carswell Replied: Great question. The real goal is for your daughter to make some meaningful connections to characters, time periods and authors. I think you can tell your child you can relate to the pleasure of returning to familiar territory--like Dr. Seuss--or reading something that is not diffult to get into. Maybe tell a story from your own experience when reading seemed like a chore. It's always smart to build on interests. If she's interested in historical fiction, you may start with some fantastic picture book biographies ("Rare Treasure" by Mary Anning; "Leonardo's Horse" by J. Fritz; "Blizzard by Jim Murphy) that are so unusual and inspiring that she'll become immersed. Then you can tie in some chapter books that connect. If she's interested in art, a fun idea is the nonfiction book "Art Fraud Detective" by Ana Nilson followed by Blue Baillett's "Chasing Vermeer" or "From the Mixed Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler" by Konigsburg. The connections will be flying! And also remember that there are some phenomenal magazines available that are rich in history, activities and strong writing like: Faces, Kids' Discover and Click. Another idea is to borrow a book like "The Kingfisher Book of Great Girl Stories: A Treasury of Classics from Children's Literature" where you can have her 'sample' excerpts from some of the great books going back to "The Secret Garden" right up to "Matilda." Sometimes knowing what doesn't sound interesting can help in defining what you are interested in. I hope this has been helpful. Best of luck! Roberta
Posted On 2007-11-26 16:47:33
Stevanne Auerbach Replied: Take her to the public library or your favorite bookstore and encourage her to browse to search for a new book. She has to find what interests her and will if given a chance. The first part is gaining her interest in reading and enthusiasm and she will find her way through to the books that provide her with enjoyment and learning. Stevanne Auerbach, PhD/Dr. Toy
Posted On 2007-06-01 15:26:46
Trish Booth, MA Replied: It sounds like your daughter enjoys reading at the Dr. Seuss level. Perhaps she likes the rhyming or silliness or even the messages. The best way to get someone to read is to match the book with the person's interests so reading is an enjoyment rather than a task. Go to the library together and check out a chapter book that was a favorite of yours when you were around nine. Then read it to her and share your memories. Don't ask her to read it. After a few chapters, stop reading just before the end of the chapter and promise to read more the next day. Then leave the book where she can see it. Try reading part of a chapter for a few days. If she is interested, she'll start reading it on her own. If she doesn't start reading the book on her own, ask her whether she wants you to finish reading the book to her. If she does, enjoy the time reading to your daughter. Then, on the next trip to the library, pick a book that has a topic or character that interests your daughter. Start reading her that book. Another approach is to give her a book that is written in the comic book style. More and more topics are being covered in this style. Choose a topic that is of interest and get her started on the book. Then leave it up to her to continue on her own. If your daughter reads well, she'll apply her skills when there is something she wants to know. Websites as well as the magazines and newspapers you have at your house offer her opportunities to read on her own.
Posted On 2007-05-02 20:17:14
Pamela Waterman Replied: Does she read chapter books for school? I imagine she is in fourth grade or so, and probably has assigned reading. For her, for now, that may be enough, and she just wants her fun reading to be "fun." Can you ask the mother of one of her friends what that girl's favorite books are? Maybe you could come up with a few that you simply bring home from the library and leave out on a coffee table where she'd see them. Our library also hands out lists of suggested reading by grade. What about picking some easier (lower grade) chapter books, again just having them in the house. Sometimes a suggestion from a friend, such as "Have you read Limony Snicket? It's so good!" will get her started, too. I assume no one is teasing her for her choices. What are her other interests? Art? Soccer? See if there is a book with a main character who does the same. Or, find a non-fiction book on drawing or famous soccer players. Is there a favorite book from your own childhood that might be good? Overall, if she's not spending too much time on TV or computer games or the internet, I think she just hasn't "heard the call" of chapter books yet, and it will come. Dr. Suess books are so rich in rhyme and creative characters, she still benefits from them, and they sound like "old friends" to her. Maybe she'll write a Suess rhyme of her own some day. If all her other studies and home life are fine, I wouldn't worry. She may just get hooked on the next "Harry Potter" when that takes the spotlight.
Posted On 2007-05-02 19:45:21
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