Monday, September 22, 2008

How Do I Make My Child Want to Read?

It’s September. Days at the beach and fun in the sun are long lost memories as school demands that your children turn their attention to projects, homework, and reading assignments. The daily agenda comes home and each day it says the same thing: Read. Depending on what grade your child is in, the amount of time may vary. For young readers it says, “Read for fifteen minutes.” For children in the intermediate grades the assignment might ask for twenty. And for children in middle school and beyond, the reading expectation far exceeds that, asking for minimally thirty minutes a day. For some children, this is the task that they embrace, but for others, it is a request to accomplish the impossible. It’s what causes parents to bargain and eventually, throw their hands up in frustration. When children scream, “I hate reading,” and “Reading is boring!” many parents give in to the temptation to let the nightly reading assignment slide. They think, “Oh, who’s going to know?” or “Why do it anyway?”

Increasing the amount of time that a child reads is an activity substantiated by research. There is strong evidence to support the relationship between the amount that a child reads and reading achievement. Studies have concluded that children who read the most, read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Children who read the most have larger vocabularies, read with expression and understanding, and have the best command of grammar. In short, the more children read, the more proficient they become. The more proficient they become, the greater the academic advantage.

So the question becomes, what can be done to make children want to read? Kim Yaris, Executive Director of Literacy Builders, recognizes motivation as one of the biggest obstacles parents and teachers face when it comes to reading improvement. She points out that one of the biggest reasons kids are reluctant to read is because some aspect of reading is hard. She says, “Struggle is the greatest deterrent to reading practice. Children need a great deal of guidance choosing materials that are right for them. Eighty percent of their reading should be relatively easy. ‘High-success reading’ builds confidence and makes children eager to practice more.”

Other simple steps that parents can take to help motivate children to want to read more include:
· Reading aloud to your child: Reading aloud acts as an advertisement for books. It sends the message that reading is pleasurable while at the same time exposes children to new authors, series, and genres.
· Accepting children’s reading interests: Adults often impose their judgment on children’s book choices. They will say things like, “that’s too easy,” or “I can’t believe you don’t like that.” Just as adults have different reading preferences, so too do children. Just as adults are more inclined to read something they are interested in, so too are children.
· Informing children of what’s available to them: Adults learn about books that they are interested in through conversations with friends and colleagues or book reviews. When parents hear or read about a good children’s book or author, they should share this information with their children. They should look to their children’s teachers and librarians to make suggestions that their child might be interested in.

So, it’s September. Back to the books doesn’t have to mean nightly struggles to motivate your child to read. When parents and teachers work together to eliminate “hard” from the reading equation, reading becomes an enjoyable experience for all children.

Visit to find out how we can help.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Key to Reading and Writing Success: Don’t Let Children Struggle

When children struggle, parents struggle to help them. When children struggle with reading and writing, parents often don’t know how to help them. Literacy Builders’ Teaching and Learning Resource Center in Plainview, New York educates both parents and children.

Unlike other learning centers that provide educational support in all subject areas, Literacy Builders specializes in reading and writing. Staffed by reading specialists and expert teachers, Literacy Builders begins with understanding a child’s reading and writing abilities. A comprehensive evaluation assesses and identifies difficulties a child may have with reading fluency, decoding, and comprehension or with generating and developing ideas for writing, spelling, and other written conventions. This information is used to create the Reading or Writing Rx, a custom-tailored plan that targets a child’s individual learning goals.

Research has shown that in order to improve children’s reading and writing ability, they need explicit and systematic instruction. Literacy Builder’s Executive Director, Kim Yaris, is a veteran classroom teacher and literacy consultant. She has been creating programs that train teachers how to improve reading and writing instruction in the classroom and has now brought this expertise to the Literacy Builders Teaching and Learning Resource Center. According to Mrs. Yaris, “Literacy is the cornerstone to educational success. When reading and writing are constantly hard work, children learn to hate doing both. We specialize in figuring out what ‘hard’ is. We start with what children can do and build their repertoire of strategies from there. We want to cultivate a love for reading and writing. When children like what they are doing, they are inclined to do it more often. The more children read and write, the better they become at it.”

Increased time spent reading books that match a child’s independent reading level is the core of the Literacy Builders approach. By using books, magazines, poems, plays, and newspapers from the extensive in-house library, children are able to practice important reading goals including fluency, decoding, and comprehension without ever completing a skill and drill worksheet. Real reading materials help to generate greater interest in and passion for learning to read.

Literacy Builders offers a wide range of services for children in grades pre-K-12. Free consultations help parents decide what kind of intervention their child may need. Whether it be intense one-on-one tutoring or small group reading or writing clinics, Literacy Builders makes expert guidance in reading and writing affordable for everybody. They also provide parent training seminars that highlight effective learning strategies and give parents ongoing information about their child’s progress.

The Literacy Builders Teaching and Learning Resource Center located in Suite 309 at 88 Sunnyside Boulevard in Plainview, New York is an inviting, child centered environment that inspires children to want to read and write. With books displayed throughout the reception area and each of the individual classrooms, children can’t help but want to read.

Making a difference sometimes requires being different. Literacy Builders is a different approach to helping children become better readers and writers.

Visit our website,, to find out how.


Welcome to the Literacy Builders Blog.

We hope to keep you informed about many topics that we feel will be helpful to parents as they work with their children in teaching reading and writing.

We are located in Plainview, New York, and provide Tutoring Services, Enrichment Progrmas, and Small Group Tutoring.

Please visit our web site,, to learn more about us, and visit us often, to learn how you can help your children become better readers and writers.