Were you one of those kids that as soon as your parents left your room at night you got out your flashlight and tried to read your book under the bed covers? Exciting wasn’t it? To get a book you can’t put down is very memorable. I remember a series called ‘Biggles’. He had been a World War 2 pilot and he flew in some really exciting adventures after that. As an adult I read ‘Grapes of Wrath’ by John Steinbeck and ‘Black Like Me’ by John Howard Griffin. I found the books so hard to put down.

That’s the sort of book your child needs to find, the ones they can get excited about. Our school librarian is a great source of knowledge regarding the content, grade level and difficulty. I asked her for a recommendation so that I could see what was popular amongst the students. I was given ‘Wonder’ by R. J. Palacio, geared more to the 3rd and 4th grades, but it was written for students. It’s about accepting people’s differences and is formatted with short chapters.

Parents, here are some suggestions to add some excitement when reading to your children.

Use different voices for the different characters.
Use plenty of intonation and vary the pace.
Stop reading just before the end of the story and ask your child what might happen next.
When reading a rhymed verse book, stop before the last word in a line and ask what the next rhyming word might be.
When you have finished reading ask some open-ended questions about the story and, depending on the age of your child, how they might have changed the end.
Finally, let your children see you reading for pleasure. “What? I don’t have time to read! Make time for it, folks! Your kids need to see it modeled. Then they will know it’s important.

Written by Brian Burgess, School Counselor, Percy Priest Elementary School, Nashville TN