READ TO MY TWEEN??
(YES, AND ALSO TO YOUR TEEN!)If you’re like most parents, you have fond memories of reading to your young child. It was a cuddly time, a time to read simply for the pleasure of it, and there was a special kind of magic. Then your child started school and soon learned to read. It was exciting to see your child’s skill grow. And it was exciting to have one less thing to do as a parent! So should you even consider taking on the responsibility--once again--of reading to your tween and teen? The answer is a resounding “yes.” And it’s true for your “typical” reader, and especially so for your “struggling reader.” Let’s first look at why we read less to our young children as they are learning to read. The answer is simple: Kids are developing skills as readers, and so they need to practice. (Plus, it’s nice to free up that tiny bit of time for ourselves!) By about fourth grade, typical readers have developed the core skills they need to become proficient readers, providing they continue to read regularly and widely. And that’s where the trouble starts. That’s because right around fourth grade, kids social circles begin to develop more fully. With each successive year, their friends become a much more compelling part of their daily lives. As a result, many kids naturally move away from reading for pleasure. This continues as kids move from their tweens and into the teens. Also, because of the constant lure of electronic devices, there’s even less time devoted to reading for pleasure. Kids end up reading because they “have to” for school. The idea of reading for pleasure becomes, well, less than pleasurable for many kids. So they read less, and their skills stagnate. What about kids who have never read for pleasure? These kids, our “struggling readers,” were never able to build their reading skills to a “typical” level, so they have read less than their peers. This is a huge disadvantage. When you add in the loss of reading aloud, there are additional consequences for our struggling readers. They:
- lose the chance to hear what good, fluent reading sounds like
- have less opportunity to the build the vocabulary and background knowledge that they need to have a fighting chance to grow as readers.
- an interesting scene from a novel you’re reading
- an article about the school’s hockey team
- the lyrics from a popular song.
- The app offers “synchronized highlighting.” This means that the text is highlighted as it read. The user is seeing it and hearing it simultaneously. For many struggling readers, using two senses is better than using one.
- Text can be adjusted. It can be made larger, or the lines can be made more spaced apart. This can help reduce the visual fatigue that some struggling readers experience.
- The reader can annotate the text as it is read. This encourages more active reading and makes study/review easier.