Struggling to get your child to read? Educators say there’s ways to fix that

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(ABC 6 News) – Remember in school when you had those pie sheets where you marked if you read 20 minutes a day? For some schools in our area, that’s no longer the case. Instead, teachers are focusing on getting your child to read rather than sticking to a specific amount of reading time.

“The further along that they get, the more of that joy of reading tends to dwindle and I feel like part of that is lack of choice,” said Michele Klennert, a 5th-grade teacher at Hayfield Community Schools.

For kids in lower grades, they have to read 100 minutes a month. The older kids, have a 40-book challenge and get to pick books of their choosing in certain genres.

“You just need to find what your interest is and what your goal is. And there are different types of reading for different purposes.”

Speaking of different types of reading, Lisa Von Drasek, the curator of the Kerlan Collection of Children’s Literature at the University of Minnesota, said: “Reading is decoding the written word. It can be a magazine, it can be National Geographic for kids, it can be Ranger Rick, it can be jokes. Is your kid in Spanish immersion? Put on a Spanish cartoon and have the subtitles come up. It’s reading!”

Von Drasek went on to add: “Also with grown-ups, help that out. Say ‘look, I’m not interested in basketball, but I’m going to read this book because you’re interested in basketball. And I’d like you to read a short story, a science fiction story that I loved as a kid.'”

It’s not just about doing homework. Reading has its benefits.

“The more kids are read to and kids read, the more words they’re obviously exposed to and the more rich their vocabulary will become and it might just be the 10 minutes before bedtime you sit down and read with your kid,” said Klennert.

Rochester Public Schools said it agrees and developing lifelong readers isn’t about a certain number of minutes children spend reading. Rather, it’s about fostering their curiosity.