But I Don’t Want to Read!

How to Erase the Excuses and Excite Your Young Learner about Reading

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“I’m tired of reading.”

Have you ever heard this?

How about either of these:

“I don’t want to read that.”

“I’d rather play my video games.”

 

Well, fear not! As a teacher, I’ve heard these statements – and so much more! – more times than I can count. But today we’re going to dive into some ways to say no to reading-excuses and yes to reading-excitement!

Here are some innovative ways you can integrate reading into your child’s life, while still keeping them engaged and entertained. (And maybe even prove to them once and for all, that reading is pretty awesome!)

The key word in all of these is: collaborate. Collaboration implies both parties will work together, finding a solution that serves them both. Collaborate and work with your child to ensure reading time isn’t something to dread – for either of you – but something to enjoy! 😊

Below I’ve listed three of my most-heard excuses, followed by quick, easy suggestions you can integrate to nip those excuses in the bud! These are meant to be easily worked in and accessible – hopefully providing you with quick-solve options and your child with more enjoyable reading experiences.

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Excuse —>I don’t want to read. You read it to me.” (A child refuses to read stories himself. He only wants to be read to.)

Suggestion —> Next time your munchkin tries to guilt you into doing all the heavy lifting, make a deal with them. If they read their own story, you’ll read them a story. If you want to butter up this offer further, you can tell them they even get to choose the book you’ll be reading to them. Or that however many books of their own they read, you’ll read the same amount to them.

If you’re child is venturing into chapter books (either on their own or with your guidance), you can mind your time with this strategy by agreeing to chapters instead of full books. (Ex. “You read one book to yourself, and I’ll read you one chapter of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.’”)

Not only will this ensure your child is getting his own independent reading time and practice in, it’ll still give you both bonding time over the story you’re reading together. And, more minutes engaged with books all around. It’s a win-win! 😊

Excuse —> “I don’t want to read that.” (A child consistently refuses – or is uninterested – in reading their assigned or required reading book(s).)

Suggestion —> To help combat this, I’d recommend telling your child she can choose two books. One can be any book she wants, but the other either needs to be the correct reading level (her choice) or the correct reading level (your choice). (If there is an actual assigned text or book, that can be used as the second reading instead of a “correct reading level” book.) That way your kiddo will be able to engage with books she’s interested in, while still building literacy skills at a level that’s appropriate for her.

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One great way to integrate this is to think about fiction and nonfiction options. In general, many boys prefer nonfiction books, and many girls prefer fiction books. (Remember – I’m generalizing here. This is definitely not true across the board, so be flexible with your learner’s needs and preferences!) But regardless what genre the child wants to read, there are going to be specific stories and genres that need to be studied as part of school, or as part of building literacy skills. If what your child is required to study doesn’t exactly match her preferences, support her learning by giving her the option to read an additional related book, as well.

So, for example, let’s say your child is studying fairytales in school. But he hates fairytales and loves nonfiction. Have him pick some aspect of the fairytale that he does like and look for new angles to target that. If he says he really likes unicorns because they remind him of horses, consider going the library and checking out a nonfiction book on horses. This way, your child can still partake in the studying and reading necessary for school but can also enjoy a book of his own choosing, and even build up awareness and knowledge as to how the two styles are similar and/or different.

We all like having choices! Don’t be afraid to give your child some, and then support them with their choices. Having options and flexibility will allow you both to enjoy reading time!

Excuse —> “I just want to keep playing my video game.” (A child remains impossible to pull away from video games or computers for reading time.)

Suggestion —> Oh, screens. Screens, screens, everywhere, but not a drop to… Well that doesn’t really work, but you know what I mean. Screens are everywhere in today’s uber-digital world. And we definitely don’t want to hinder our kids from learning safe, beneficial, and productive ways to engage with technology.

But we also want to ensure they’re getting plenty of time away from screens, too. Making sure there is a healthy balance between screen time and non-screen time will help them create and build healthy lifestyle choices and foster those choices as they grow. So – the screens. How do we deal with them? Basically, we use them. We make them our friends.

If your child loves her screen time, go ahead – allow her to “watch” one of her stories. The flip side? For every story she watches, she also has to read one with her own eyes. (If you want, you can have her read one first; and then celebrate her reader diligence by letting her watch her choice of story afterwards.) This way, she gets to watch a story, but she’s also encouraged to read a story. That’s the deal! And you both gain from it. (It also amounts to double the literacy time, which is a nice bonus. 😊)

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Here are a few great websites where children can watch and listen to stories:

https://www.storylineonline.net/

https://www.storynory.com/

http://mrsp.com/

I hope these suggestions and strategies help make reading time a little less struggle and a lot more fun! But if you have any nagging excuses or hiccups that are constantly plaguing your child’s reading or writing time, please feel free to hit me up at jennifernicely@jennifernicely.com. I’m always happy to dig in and see what resources and ideas I can come up with! 😊

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4 Creative Ways to Create Stories

(Because Sometimes You Need More Than Just Pen and Paper…)

  I love writing. (Being an author, I’m sure that’s as surprising as the sun rising.) But that doesn’t mean I don’t get bored with blank pages. It can be hard to engage with nothing, let alone turn it into something. And for youth of all ages – that can be just as boring. And, very daunting.

    Enter – creative ways to create stories! A story doesn’t have to be written through traditional methods.

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For example, Michael Bublé – the world-famous singer and songwriter – wrote his hit song, “Home” in a bathtub. And queen-of-romance novelist Danielle Steel is known for writing her books via a “1946 Olympia manual typewriter.” (https://mashable.com/2014/02/15/modern-writers-technology/) Even Derek Murphy, an artist turned cover designer turned bestselling author and publishing guru, describes how he often writes stories based on covers. Meaning, he finds pre-made book covers that he loves, and crafts his stories based on those. (https://www.creativindie.com/the-really-weird-tricks-i-use-to-write-and-publish-bestselling-books/

I’m not saying invest in a special bathtub, old school typewriter, or a slew of pre-made book covers. (Just don’t.) The point is – creating itself is a form of writing, even if it’s done through a unique format. While this notion applies to just about everyone to some degree, it’s particularly helpful for kids who are learning. And not just learning to read and write – but learning to love reading and writing.

Read on to discover the inventive ways you can encourage your child to be… well… inventive! 😊     

1.     Character Creator - Vokihttps://www.voki.com/

Voki is an awesome tool for bringing characters to life. Users can design the entire look of their character (including mythological creatures and more!) and then add text and a voice (with accent options!) to bring their character to life. It’s free to create a character and a total blast! (There are also more advanced options for those who want to use Voki for presentations, classroom teachers, and hangouts. More about these options and their pricing can be found on the website.)

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2.       “Comix Strip” Maker - Make Beliefs Comix -https://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/

Making a Comix Strip is a great way for visual learners and young artists to create stories. (Or just about anyone, really. I had a fantastic time creating the example shown to the right. No, seriously - it was super fun.)

Make Beliefs Comix offers a creation tool that is unique, easy to use, and a great way to help young, creative minds bring their stories to life!

3.       Writing Game - Pass the Pages

Here’s a fun activity you can do that doesn’t involve technology but does utilize collaboration. It takes at least two people, but the more the merrier! The first person writes one sentence on a piece of paper. He/she doesn’t say what they’ve written. They simply write their sentence down and then pass the paper to the next person. Then that person adds to the story by writing one additional sentence. This continues with each person writing only one sentence, taking turns as needed. (If there are two players, they can pass it back and forth. If there are four, they would each write one sentence and then start back over with the first person writing another sentence, etc. If the group is large, like a full classroom, it could also be stopped after everyone has written one sentence.)

Once everyone has had a chance to write an equal number of sentences, and there are at least 5 – 10 sentences in the story, choose one participant to read the story aloud. Chances are, the story will be pretty funny! Or at the very least – it will have taken some unique twists and turns as more sentences were added and the story was established.

This activity is also a great reminder for how much fun it can be to collaborate with people!

4.       Online Story Creator - StoryJumper https://www.storyjumper.com/

This site is so much fun! And for any children out there who really want to see their words and creations in print – this website makes that an option. I love how easily children can really make books come to life through this site. They have a range of options for creating stories that will make it accessible for a wide range of learners. The dashboard is intuitive and fun, and the images are bright and delightful!

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I did not have to create an account to make a story (see example left); but if you wanted to save your story, you would need to do so. If you’re concerned about costs – don’t worry. Most of the fun is free! According to the StoryJumper website, there is, “No cost required to use StoryJumper at school or home. Create, share, and read StoryJumper books online for free.”

So, you’re only going to need to think about prices if your child wants to publish their book. (Prices for this are outlined on their website.)

Well, that’s a wrap! I hope you and your aspiring writers and creators dig into the above resources and have a blast!

If you’re looking for specific book-related activities or ideas for your child – or your classroom! – please glance through my Activities Packets. They are free, original activity packets that provide wonderful extension questions, suggested readings, and fun stuff (word searches or crafts, anyone?!) for each story!

PS – I add new activity packets, resources, and other content regularly! Want to be the first to know? Sign up here!

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