Student Reading: Finding Success and Enjoyment in Literature

Student reading seems to either go great or be a challenge. If your students or child seem to be struggling, here are some ideas that might help them to succeed.

  1. Find something the child is really interested in. Many times certain age groups and classrooms are into similar stuff, like Minecraft, Legos, Disney. Find what the children are interested in and teach using that. With this in mind, remember that not all children in the classroom are the same, so if one child is truly struggling, ask them their interests. Look at who is on their backpack or shirt if they are having a hard time coming up with ideas.
  2. Choose material slightly below their level. Although a challenge can be fun, it can also be exhausting. If the child has to stop too often because the words are not in their vocabulary or if they can barely read the words at all, the idea of reading is going to become a task.
  3. Do not over test. Tests can be stressful, and you do not want the child to associate reading with stress. It’s a daily skill that they are going to need to have, so making it stressful is less than ideal. Yes assessments are necessary to see progress, but don’t make every book about that or the student is likely to shy away from letting their imaginations dive into the book.
  4. Set goals. Clear objectives not only define where you are at, they also motivate you and reward you when you accomplish great things. Let the child enjoy their success by pre-defining a student reading goal.
  5. Make Reading Fun. Make student reading enjoyable, add variety, and truly enjoy it. Reading is full of many different parts (like phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, retell, and more) each with its own challenges. Embrace the struggles and persist on understanding the books. If you are having fun, it is more likely so is the student. Games are also great like making silly sentences or playing a game and simply understanding what the cards say.

Hope these ideas help. Feel free to share some of your own ideas.

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Get Child to Read: An Early Start

How do you get a child to read and why is it important? Early speech is correlated with better math and reading, as well as, less behavioral problems. Research also shows that early literacy is correlate with better school and overall career success. But how do you get kids to talk, and how do you get kids to read?

Opportunity is key. Having resources like books of the right age range is so critical. It doesn’t take a lot of money, only a library card. Our local libraries also offer a kids time. This is a time where songs and other brain engaging activities are going on. If your libraries don’t offer this, check other resources like Barnes and Noble. Puzzles, paints, play dough, shape sorters, and other engaging problem solving toys also allow your children to explore the world around them. These skills can be helpful for both math and reading.  

Ask your kids questions. At an age that would of seemed silly to most, I would turn to my child at the dinner table and say, ‘tell Daddy about your day.’ Then I would eventually say that’s right and fill in the blanks, but it’s important to let your kids know they are important. It is also important that they learn to question things. It is a skill that is necessary for reading comprehension. Starting with the real world and simple board books is a great place to begin.

Listen to their interest. It is so hard to read a book even as an adult when you are simply not into it. the same holds true when you are a child. Think about what the child likes. Let them pick a book, and help them pick a book (or ask a librarian for help) about something that would truly help the child fall in love with reading.

Imagination is the key to building beautiful stories in your mind. Imagination starts by simply playing dress up or store or any of the number of things kids love to play. So while the kids look like they are doing nothing but being silly, they are preparing themselves for a great adventure ahead. Appreciate that.

Here’s a youtube video I found all about the importance of early reading


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ADHD What You Need to Know

ADHD, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter occurs in about 3-7% of school aged children. It effects their ability to progress social, occupational, or academically. It also must be present before the age of 7 and occur in at least to different settings. Although the name suggests inattention, many children with ADHD have long attention spans toward activities they find interesting.

What is ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter is more commonly  diagnosed in males than females. 30-50% of those diagnosed continue to have issues into adulthood. Common symptoms include:

  • Struggles to follow directions
  • Easily distracted
  • Seems to not be listening
  • Daydreaming
  • Problems processing information quickly and accurately
  • Problems maintaining focus
  • Becomes bored easily
  • Troubles completing and/or turning in assignments

May also include: Fidgeting, talking nonstop, impulsive, not able to sit still, difficulty doing quiet tasks, not able to wait turn, emotional, touching and playing with everything in sight

ADHD symptoms

The cause of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter is unknown. It is believed to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Many of the genes effected seem to be connected to the dopamine neurotransmitters. Environmental factors can include alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, lead and insecticide exposure, premature and/or low birth weight and brain injury.

ADHD what to know

If these symptoms sound like your child, talk to your pediatrician. Medication and therapy can be used as treatment.

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Neurological Differences: The Strength and Weakness

neurological differences

Neurological Differences: The Strength and Weakness

Neurological differences, just like any differences, are part of nature. Sometimes children are born with these neurological differences, like Tourette’s Syndrome, epilepsy, or autism, but sometimes they come later in life.

I recently came across this video from a neurologist who had a very interesting point of view, perhaps a more optimistic one. In his video, he states how neurological differences are important. He also states how there is a possible positive side effect to the difference.

It is important to look not just simply to think in terms of defects and problems, but in different ways of doing things, in different ways of functioning. -Oliver Sacks

It is important still to explore the differences. Help the brain wherever you can, but also excepting one another and realizing the power of one’s differences in truly a beautiful thing.

Some children may require various amounts of therapy and accommodations. Schooling may have to be modified, or it may be their strength. Each child, just like their brain is very unique. It is important to assess the child. Figure out what exactly they need. It is also important to help them find a strength and praise them. No one always wants to feel down and out. The brain is a mysteriously magical thing that has many capabilities. As he talked about in the video, it can compensate for so much. Sometimes children and adults need help finding the right resources to get their brains functioning on the next level, but it’s amazing what the body is capable of doing on its own.

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Executive Functioning: The Why and What of Its Importance

Executive functioning literally rules our days. It is the part of our brain that allows us to remember directions, know what needs to be done before we can leave, and helps us stay safe by evaluating potential dangers. Many children can have a delay in developing this region of their brains. Even many adult can be effected by not being as skilled in executive functioning. As with most delays and shortcomings, it is best to become aware of the issue. Evaluate where or what parts of Executive Functioning are particularly difficult, and then come up with the game plan on how to be successful. Here is online test for adults I found, but you can imagine from it some of the same child sized questions.

Executive Functioning Impacts:

  • Time Management: Constantly running late and losing track of time both fall under this category
  • Regulation of Attention: Easily distracted or getting too involved in one thing and not being able to move on
  • Impulse Control: Evaluating whether the environment or certain actions in the environment are safe
  • Organization: keeping things where they belong, throwing out other things, and being ale to re-find certain items all take energy from the brain
  • Working Memory: Also known as short-term memory that allows us to recall important information
  • Emotional Control: Even being able to keep feelings in check falls into executive functioning
  • Flexible thinking: Being able to roll with the changes that life throws at them
  • Task initiation: Being able to redirect the brain into a new task
  • Self-monitoring: knowing how to regulate behavior in order to accommodate their current social situation

Things that can help:

  1. Sticky notes, a calendar, or whatever is going to help them remember each of their tasks…but don’t overfill it with information, keep it simple and to the point
  2. Create environments where they can be successful. Do they need a quiet chair? A wiggly seat? It is best also to keep it consistent. Patterns will help give their brains clues about what needs to be occurring.
  3. If the child is impulsively speaking out of turn, have them write notes instead to share later. Redirect their needs to be satisfied more appropriately.
  4. Create an organization system. Yes this probably mean the parent is doing a lot of the work at first, but skill building can start small and then get bigger. Remember big tasks take a lot of practice.
  5. Patience is probably key when it comes to their memories. You will undoubtedly feel like you’ve said the same thing many times. Taking notes and putting visual enforcers for them can help.
  6. A dramatic kid can also take patience, but teaching them how to check-in with their own emotions can help them in the long term. Things like ‘mindful’ practices may also really help to strengthen their emotional balance.
  7. Flexible thinking can be hard for all of us, but life gives us lots of opportunity to practice this skill. Let them learn it, but try to set them up for success. A good nights sleep and a full belly can go a long way.
  8. Give them a specific starting point for their new task. Help ease them into it. They may need stepping stones because they can’t break down the task into it’s smaller steps on their own. For example, homework requires you grab a pencil, get the homework, find a seat, read directions, and then begin. Breaking the 1 step direction of ‘get homework’ into those 5 steps may really help the child out.
  9. Help your child become self-aware by talking to them about their actions in a neutral way. This can be done while they are in the process of doing it, at the end of the day, or probably best yet before different activities require something special of them.

By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site., Jun 19, 2013., CC BY 3.0,

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