difficult child hates to read

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by shellyd67, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    I just cannot get difficult child to read! No matter what techniques I try. He is very fluent but has some comprehension problems if he finds the book boring (he is a skimmer) which leads to lots of mistakes. No amount of encouragement seems to help. I just am at my wits end trying to help this child understand that reading is required and it must be done. He loves certain books and we often go to the bookstore and I allow him ample time to browse but required reading in school is an absolute nightmare. He rages, breaks pencils, and pouts like a 2 year old. This has been an ongoing problem since 1st grade. Any suggestions or advice ?
  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Through my difficult child's IEP I was sometimes able to substitute a required reading in class with a book she would read. However, those times were rare.

    In the elementary years, I would read the book with her. There were books I did make her read even though she wasn't interested and I provided prizes as an incentive - it worked only sometimes. By the time she was in Jr. High, I would sometimes read, but sometimes I will admit, I bought the Cliffnotes or Sparks books which provide a summary and key elements to the reading. I don't feel guilty about using the cliffnotes because she was an avid reader otherwise and I knew she would be okay in that department - it was not worth all the strife and we had bigger fish to fry in those days.

    She used to help her older sister with spelling when she was in kindergarten and easy child was in 2nd grade! Spelling/reading/writing is her gift. She loves playing word games. She went on to win a writing award for the state mandated CAPT test in our state. She has written and had her own poetry copyrighted and has started writing a book.

    At your son's age, I think I would likely read with him and take turns with chapters. Perhaps you can reason with him that if he reads the required books, he can read the books he enjoys more or go out for a treat or something else he enjoys?
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I would go ahead and read to/with difficult child for now. My difficult child also hates to read. I did much of his reading in 5th grade because he was dealing with much larger issues than read his school work. That helped him a lot.

    My difficult child has also told me last year (7th grade) that it is sometimes hard to "see" the words. The contrast of the black words on some of the white pages is distracting.

    We have gotten magazines that interest difficult child (cars and sports) and he will read those. Keep looking for those opportunities that will have him reading. For required reading, have him read all quotations (ask him to do so in a voice/tone/accent of the character) and you read the rest.
  4. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    The best resource I know of for reading issues is the International Association of Dyslexia (http://www.interdys.org/).

    If he is fluent, but struggles with comprehension some things that might help are:

    - A skill required for comprehension is the ability to control the cadence of what you are reading. Meaning you don't just read one word at a time, monotone; you read with pauses, emphasis, and a particular rhythm to the sentence. Individuals with poor comprehension frequently don't read with the proper cadence in their mind, they read one word at a time level. This is why having you reading the book to him can help. Because when you read you can do it in a more theatrical way. Pay attention to how the sentence is read. Read it like you would say it. The object is for him to hear the proper cadence of the words so that he can start to hear the proper cadence in his mind when he reads silently to himself later. This is a skill that can take a long time to learn. It works the best if you read it to him (or if you play an audio book) first and then let him re-read it later. But, he probably won't want to re-read it. (gerr).

    - It is easier to comprehend material that you can relate to. If it is a story or subject he knows something about he will be able to pick up and retain more. When possible select things he has some past experience with.

    - If you can get the reading issues on his IEP, it is legitimate to have audio books and books read to him as "reasonable accommodations".

    - We also used bribes. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. But as the kids got older they developed a better understanding of why reading is important.

    Good luck
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT also hates to read. The only thing she's read voluntarily is Alice in Wonderland. We read together in elementary school, suffered open warfare during junior high, and worked together again during high school, where I would read the assignment first, then as she read (and did not comprehend), I could explain what she didn't understand. I'm a super-fast reader with a really high retention rate, so this worked for us, and she seemed to get the concepts more easily when they were explained, since she's more of an auditory learner.
  6. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Does he actually like to read - just not the "assigned" books?

    Both of mine absolutely HATED the Accelerated Reader program. Both of mine read way above grade level. The books in the program bored them. They were about subjects they had no interest in. So they wouldn't read them, which meant they wouldn't take the tests to bump them up to levels (which they could read at) where the books would be of interest.

    Some teachers were fine with letting them read whatever books they wanted, as long as they could somehow prove they read them (NL read the entire Lord of the Rings between 2nd and 3rd grade). Other teachers were sticklers and insisted they could ONLY read the Accelerated Reader books at "their" assigned level. When my oldest was in 2nd grade, that meant "Goose Bump" books which I thought were little more than comic books without pictures.

    I was never so glad as when the school dropped that program.

    Anyway, if he likes to read, just not assigned books, perhaps you can work with the teacher to give him credit for those he does like, as long as they are grade appropriate or above.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    What worked for us (not brilliantly, but it gets us there):

    1) We read the book together, difficult child 3 chooses whether he will read the narrative and I do the dialogue, or the other way around. The best way to start this with your difficult child is for you to do the dialogue, but act it out. Go over the top. Make it fun, get into the characters, do voices. Then when it's difficult child's turn to read the dialogue, he has a good example to follow. It does really help with comprehension too. Think how incomprehensible Shakespeare seemed the first time you read the words on the page. But when you saw it acted, or heard it read aloud by someone really skilled, it began to make sense? Reading aloud and acting it well makes a big improvement in comprehension.

    2) Read plays together. As above, act it out well. Kids tend to absorb a certain level of self-consciousness when it comes to reading with expression; peers don't allow it, it's dorky. But in the privacy of home, you can let your hair down. I remember being in Grade 3 and the teacher said to us, "I will give a prize to the student who reads best," and I wanted that prize. So I made a conscious choice - I was going to throw all my expressive capability into the reading, in spite of my classmates being embarrassed about public displays of expression. I got the prize. It meant more to me than the embarrassed glances.

    3) Get the book in DVD form (with subtitles if possible). Use subtitles on TV and DVD. It helps comprehension in a highly visual kid.

    4) Get the book in audio form and get difficult child to listen to it while having the book on his lap.

    Try a combination of all these. They help. But if the book MUST be read, enforce it. Make him listen at least, to you reading it. Point out that silent reading is faster, but always make sure you read all the books too, so you can discuss the books afterwards.

    If you have choice in what books to read, go to the library and get hold of "Babysitters Club" and Babysitters Little SIster" books. In fact, get the Little Sister books first. READ THEM YOURSELF. Then get difficult child to read them to easy child. I know they can be a bit girly, but Little Sister ones are less so. Or there might be other good books to read. But the Babysitters ones have some subtle social lessons in them that you can identify, then draw the kids out to discuss with you afterwards. What was Karen's problem? Why did she do what she did? What trouble did it cause? How do you think the others felt? How do yo think Karen was feeling? How did it get resolve? Would you have done it this way, or would you have done things differently?

    If you can find good boy books, do the same thing. An Aussie author I recommend is Paul Jennings. He writes short stories mostly, and there was a TV series made from his books. His topics are typically somewhat gross grotty boy topics, but also the social "what if?" type of poser. Interestingly, Paul Jennings is (I believe) ADHD and I wouldn't be surprised to find some mild Asperger's there. He's a former elementary teacher now a full-time author. The TV series was called "Round The Twist" and would be great for girls or boys from elementary to Middle School. Book titles (the short story collections) are titles like "Unreal!", "Uncanny!", "Unmentionable!", "Undone!", "Unbearable!", "Quirky Tales" and others. They have an Australian flavour but would have an appeal to boys everywhere. Especially boys who find school or family a struggle at times. It deals with bullies and bullying as well as just plain weird "what if?" imagination stuff. Lots of really embarrassing situations for the protagonist to get caught up in (such as licking a statue of a girl carved out of ice, and getting stuck to it). These stories are fun. Girls like them too. I do too.

    Here is a link - http://www.pauljennings.com.au/

    Be aware, when you read these you might initially think, "How unsuitable!" but these get recommended reading lists in Aussie schools. Any problems you have will be purely due to cultural differences (certain words commonly used here might be offensive to you and vice versa). If you find this, let me know and I will help sort out an explanation of the cultural differences for difficult child, if you think that will be needed. But it's possible any copies for the US may have been already carefully screened. He's good at making sure his work is suitable.

    There are other Aussie authors (Morris Gleitzman, for example) but for problem readers, Jennings is perhaps the best.


    Read his website, his blogs etc and you will understand why I think this author is perhaps one of the best choices for you to read with your son. He's SpEd-trained as well as being a highly trained and qualified teacher. Until I read his bio, I hadn't realised he was also a qualified Speech Pathologist. He's more than just a writer, he actually works to support kids who need help socially, academically or with learning difficulties. His books reflect this, but subtly. The protagonist in his books is generally the put-upon kid, the one who has to lurk behind the shed to avoid the bully. And the bully never wins in the end!

  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I haven't read all the responses so sorry if I repeat something someone said.

    Have you tried magazines? There are all kinds of mags aimed at kids. If he likes sports, try Sports Illustrated for Kids. If he likes a tv show, pokemon, computer games, legos, whatever, you can probably find a magazine for it. Search google for magazine deals, and also go to www.gottadeal.com (free registration) and search for magazine deals or cheap magazines. It can make a HUGE difference in their reading. I have a cousin with a son who's birthday was 1 day less than a year before Wiz b'day. He was reading at 5 when he was in Montessori with Wiz, but his parents sent him to the school run daycare to get him used to the school before he started kdg. He totally stopped reading and then in kdg just refused to do it. When my great aunt (his great gma) told me about it I suggested a year of SI for kids, and that she buy an issue to give him along with a note that it was coming for a year.

    He started reading again with the magazine. It had short articles, so he could see a clear end, and it was something he was really interested in.

    Last year I used a website to send Family Fun magazine to several people for a year. I had to do it in groups of 2 to get the price, otherwise it was $10, so I sent one to totoro's kiddos and from a recent post they seem to look forward to it! I also gave mag subscriptions to a number of other people, including myself, by finding deals on them online.

    If you know someone interested in women's magazines like Vogue, you can get a free subscription if you purchase $35 worth of makeup from www.eyeslipsface.com (a great makeup company with inexpensive makeup that is very high quality - much of it close to dept store quality in the minerals line and studio line!)

    Have you tried audiobooks? Many books, even kids books, are available in unabridged audiobooks (it will be confusing if you use an abridged audiobook). Have difficult child follow along in the book as he listens to the audiobook. One of my parents' friends is a reading teacher and she recommends this for any student who is resistant to reading. Sometimes she will end the audiobook right before something happens, after the events that lead up to it. Often the kids will go ahead and read it before they see her again because they get so interested in the books.

    At age 10 you might try the Artemis Fowl books, the first Harry Potter books, and maybe even the Magic Treehouse books, depending on his interests and maturity levels. If a relative has a calming speaking voice you might ask them to read a book into a microphone and send a recording to you. My dad did that with Uncle Wiggily stories and it was incredibly soothing for my kids. His voice is like the dad from Happy Days and is so soothing that we couldn't play them out loud in the car because they relaxed us too much! My kids fell asleep to that for a long time, and still dig out the old cassettes sometimes. The sp ed teacher Wiz had in 5th grade used them with other students and they were very soothing and calming with-o annoying any of the kids - to the point kids would ask to listen to them when they were getting upset. She moved to a high school and took them with her and even those students listened to them!!!

    If the kids are close to a relative, and generally try to behave around them, then that is the person to choose to read. Try to have the kid follow along in the book as the person reads - it helps their brains process what they are hearing/reading in a more effective way, or so the friend who is a reading specialist says.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Comics are great, too. difficult child 3 downloads a lot of them from the 'Net and loads them onto his DS. But always, read them yourself too.

  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If the school is using the Accelerated Reading program then there is a way for a teacher to put ANY book into the program. It is quite easy but many teachers, even reading specialists, don't know about it. My dad put quite a few books into it for his school because his students wanted to read books that were not in it.

    thank you consistently gets 15-20 points for each book he reads. His goal is 9 points per month, which he things is ridiculously and stupidly low. He shoots for at least 28 points per month and sometimes has gotten up to 35. This is usually done in 1-3 books. They have had to add 12 grade plus level books to keep thank you and 2 other kids interested!!

    They CAN get books that meet almost any reading level and there is no reason to insist a child read at a lower level than he wants to.

    I totally agree that Goosebump books are a waste of time - none of my kids ever spent more than 30 minutes reading them cover to cover. They did get up with nightmares, which annoyed me greatly (one teacher insisted each child read at least 3 of them - to get them "interested" in reading - thank you was excused because I pitched a fit over it. He hated them because they scared him.) My kids frequently got annoyed because I refused to buy books that took them less than an hour to read. IF I could find them for fifty cents or so then I would buy them, but otherwise no way. It drove them crazy.
  11. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Shelly,

    My son, now entering high school, was not a reader either. He was not like my daughter who would read while eating her cereal before school in first grade! difficult child would not read unless he absolutely had no other option left!

    Here's what I did. Beginning in 2nd grade, part of our bedtime routine was reading together. The deal was he had to read to me first (a reading assignment from school or a book we chose together that was age appropriate but an interesting subject matter to him) for the time allotted (usually 15 or 20 minutes). After that was accomplished, I read to him from another book that was not his reading level but a great book we both would enjoy. We read some wonderful stories together for the next five years. This did a couple things for us - it gave us some important one on one time, it allowed difficult child to discover new worlds and experiences through story telling without the frustration that was often part of his reading, it sparked great conversations and questions between us, and he slowly, very slowly, began to read to me eventually with more emphasis on tone and rhythm, etc.

    I also never discouraged him reading comic books. As long as he was reading, it was a good thing. He loved a good Manga and still reads them. I would talk to the librarian about good books in his interest area and it didn't hurt that I was book fair chairman for eons and had a pretty good idea what was out there!

    Keep plugging and remember that reading aloud to our kids is one of the biggest things we can do to promote good reading habits. It's often difficult to find the time in our busy schedules, but it is really important.

  12. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Gosh you guys what would I do without all of you ! What great suggestions. We do subscribe to highlights for easy child (difficult child says he is too old for it) and sports illustrated, golf digest, and some others .... he still could care less but I may try audio books ... What a brilliant idea ! I am sorry that it never crossed my mind. I have discussed how oppositional he is about reading with ALL his teachers. Last years teacher said anything he wants to read, even if it is a recipe I ask him to read aloud to me is fine with her. She was understanding and quite exceptional. I am going to read with him and then discuss audio books as well. Wish us luck !:D
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Make sure the magazines you get are on his level. Instead of reg Sports Illustrated get SI for Kids. Or the kid version of National Geographic. Go to a bookstore and take a look at ALL the magazines they have that are aimed at either an interest of his or are designed for kids.

    The reading teacher LDM said didn't care what he read as long as he read was on the right track. No matter what his interests are, look for a magazine about them. Also introduce him to blogging if you find some that might interest him. Ebooks to read on the computer are also widely available. Many computers have programs that will read text out loud to you. The voice sounds a bit strange to me, but it reads pages of ebooks very well. You can gel almost anything about anything online.

    Mobipocket is an excellent source of ebooks. There are other ebook sites also. Or maybe you could work with him to create his own ebook.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There are a number of boy-related magazines. difficult child 3 gets K-Zone and Disney Adventures even though he's really too old for them at 16. But there are comics of all kinds for all ages. Asterix is marvellous, especially if he's at all interested in other languages. We found a copy in German when difficult child 3 was studying the language; we put the English verion and the German version side by side, it became like a puzzle for him.

    You can adapt it at any age level.

    Also worth looking for, on the computer, are the interactive books such as Grandma and Me, and Arthur and Friends.

    But the more you tell me about him, the more convinced I am that stories by Paul Jennings would be marvellous for him. Even if you can get the "Round the Twist" DVD series to begin with. Paul Jennings has a small role in one of the episodes, as a ghost needing help. The books are a series of unrelated stories, but the TV series changed the protagonists in the story to members of the Twist family, whose dad is an artist and who live in an old lighthouse. The local real estate agent wants them out of there so he can develop the property, and the lighthouse is also haunted by friendly ghosts who feature in a later story. And there you have the background. The kids in the family mean that the episodes change which kid is the focus from week to week, which gives it a wider appeal.

    A common concept is "I hate school" and although there is a nice teacher in the story, there is also a not so nice teacher. It balances out.

    To give you more of an idea, the theme song sets the weird, oddball mood and also the inner turmoil of kids - "Have you ever - ever felt like this? Do strange things happen, are you going round the twist?"
    Most difficult children can relate to this. PCs love this series, but difficult children connect. And the books are the same sort of stories, before being adapted to the series. So there is even more in the books. But short stories mean the child gets to the end of that story faster, it's not a whole novel.

    I know I seem to be carping on this topic, but I've seen a lot of difficult children, including dyslexic ones, make a huge effort because it's great stuff and clicks with them.

    A book adapted for very young kids (or basic readers) is "The Cabbage Patch Fib". It also was made into a TV episode. The book is Golden Book sized.

    But whatever you give him - always read it yourself too. You need to be able to talk to the kids about it, ask them what they like, what they don't like.

  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Forgot about auditory books - we did those too! All through HS!! difficult child had a Lit teacher in HS who told her students that it would be okay for them to rent DVD's for the books that had been made into movies, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, On the Waterfront, etc. It helped a lot.
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I have no idea why some kids hate to read and others are bookworms. One of my most successful easy child's, for no apparent reason, hated to read. In fact ;) it is still a family joke that he read the life of Jim Ryan in fifth or sixth grade and did book reports on the same book every opportunity he had before graduation. :D He had no learning problems...just didn't like to read. Now his job intails supervising multiple governmental departsments and he has no choice but to read, read and read.

    I agree with the suggestions others have given. Just wanted to add that some kids just don't like to read even though they may be A students. DDD
  17. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Lots of boys read late. The school made gfg13 hate reading -- but I could clearly see he wasn't ready as he struggled in grades 2,3,4,5. He would read Pokemon stuff on his Nintendo, and in the big "directories" of all the pokemon cards. He also enjoyed reading street signs, names of restaurants, all kinds of stuff while riding in the car. Labels on food cans at the store or while dinner's being prepared. Cereal boxes. Words on pennies, dimes, quarters and dollar bills. Helped him see how rich with words his world already was.

    He at 13 is a good reader now. He likes manga and anime. I was recently at the library and saw a sign advising parents never to underestimate the value of comics in motivating boys to read, as others have suggested. Recently he has been driving his dad and brother crazy because he has closed-captioning on while he's watching all his shows like iCarly. But I think it's great -- he's reading! I think it's a hoot. Then I found out he had turned the closed-captioning on and couldn't turn it off. Oh well. It worked.
  18. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I just about fell out of my chair today! I was gone yesterday and husband handed me the envelope with the school information we need (locker combo, ect.). It also came with the math and reading test results from the State test the kids took last winter!

    difficult child is quite a bit over the average of school, district, and state in reading! And he also hates to read. So, hopefully your son is doing as well as mine. Just because they don't like to read doesn't mean they can not. Finding something they are interested in is the biggest battle.
  19. CactusK

    CactusK Guest

    My difficult child dislikes reading but hates writing even worse.
    I bought a workbook that has a brief story to read and then some questions to answer. The stories are detective stories; described as "high interest, low readability" Finally the term I've been searching for to describe to the school librarian, or the booksellers.
    Our problem is that difficult child likes exciting books like "Harry Potter" series or "Sluggers Club" which are above his reading level, but he loves them, so Dad reads them aloud.

    Sounds like he likes certain books that are not on his "required reading" list at school? Does this have to do with AR books?
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    With problems with handwriting, check out with an Occupational Therapist (OT) whether writing is painful for difficult child. We've had difficult child 3 fitted with a hand splint for pain when writing. Also, use of computer has made a huge difference in how much he actually will write.