Children love a good mystery and, if you are trying to motivate your child to read, introducing the fun of trying to solve a mystery can help a lot. If you read with your child, and especially if you are helping a slow reader practice reading skills, the mystery story makes reading a happier experience for both of you.
Sell the Idea of Reading for Fun
To interest a child in reading, use the same sales pitch that a friend uses to interest you in reading a book:
- Talk about the characters and the story line – there is usually a synopsis on the back of the book.
- Discuss books you like to read and why you like them, and suggest your child may discover different subjects that interest him.
- Stress the fun aspect of reading – people read not only because they have to but because they really love it.
- If children love a particular movie, introduce them to the book. Best of all, introduce them to the book’s sequel before it’s made into a movie! Point out that they’ll have a visit with old friends before the movie goers have the chance.
Develop a Reading-Time Pattern
Set aside a certain time of day to read with your child and schedule it into your daily activities. This often means reading together at bedtime, but it can be another time if bedtime doesn’t work for one reason or another. Just make sure reading together is part of the daily routine until your child is reading easily and well on his own.
Depending on the age and reading ability of the child:
- Have your child read aloud to you.
- Take turns reading every second page.
- You can start the reading session by a re-hash of what has happened in the story so far, and what the child thinks might happen next.
- If the child doesn’t recognize a word, ask for the first letter and the sound it makes, then say the word. Don’t make the child sound it out. This is reading fun-time, remember, not a reading lesson.
- If your child really dislikes reading a particular book, don’t force him to finish it. Find something else.
Sports-Mysteries Involve More Than “Who dun it?” Queries
I remember my own childhood very vividly, and I remember the children in my grade, in my schools, on various teams, and children I have taught who faced a lot of challenges. Children are resourceful and resilient, and try very hard to understand the world and their place in it. I believe they identify with, and enjoy reading about, children who have problems to solve and manage to do so. The mystery woven into the story is the kicker.
Even though no one in my family or among my friends have had to deal with any of the problems or mysteries that are featured in the series, I have had the fun of choosing as many family names as I could work into the stories. With the three main characters playing team sports, it’s an easy task – I need lots of names. Sooner or later, I’ll name everyone. I know my family will like it and that’s a kicker for me as a writer!
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