Dear Mrs. James,

I don't even like reading, so how do I help my son become a better reader and actually like it? He reads well, but detests it and avoids it like the plague and I don't want him to be like me. Reading is important.

Dear Mrs. James,

I don't even like reading, so how do I help my son become a better reader and actually like it? He reads well, but detests it and avoids it like the plague and I don't want him to be like me. Reading is important.

Thanks,
Martin Ethan
Pickerington

Hello Martin,

I have found that a lot of times when children say that they don't like reading, what they're really saying is that they have never read a book that they've liked. When they say that reading is boring, it's often because they've only been exposed to a bunch of boring books! One plus one just equals two.

When this is the case, you must simply find reading materials that your child will enjoy. What does he watch on television? What are his interests? Ask a librarian or his teacher for a list of books that fall into his interests' categories (or email me mrsjameslearningclub@yahoo.com and create incentives for the completion of those books. Subscribe to a kid's magazine that you know your child would enjoy. Books aren't the only reading materials out there get creative! Reading is reading.

Institute Family Reading Time where the TV's off and everyone in the family reads for 20 minutes. Reading/Language Arts teachers recommend 20 minutes of reading every night before bed. If that seems a little ambitious, start with 5 minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes. You will set an excellent example for your son! Don't worry, you're doing great!

Keep up the good work!
Love,
Mrs. James



Dear Mrs. James,

Do you have any book suggestions that have multicultural/diverse characters for an 8th grader? I want something enthralling that she can read but also experience different cultures and things rather than our own. I don't know how much of this she gets in school.
Thanks,

Sarah
Columbus

Sarah, darling you're about to open Pandora's Box! I am a middle school reading teacher and I could probably go on and on for days with book suggestions for your 8th grader! However, I will try to contain myself!

My first suggestion is Copper Sun by Sharon Draper. My 8th graders and I completely fell in love with it. Enthralling is an understatement! It's a historical fiction story about a 15-year-old girl who is captured from her native home in Africa and sold into American slavery. Amari, the main character is raped, beaten, and tortured on a regular basis until she and her white comrade, Polly, make plans for a new life. I won't spoil it for you by sharing too much, but I highly recommend it! It is painful to read, but it's amazingly written and my students loved it! 8th graders seem to really be interested in books that deal with controversial subjects.

My second suggestion is Sold by Patricia McCormick. This book is about a 13-year-old girl named Lakshmi who lives in Nepal, India. Although her family was poor, she is a happy girl with an exciting hope for her future. She willingly takes the opportunity to take a job in the city as a maid to help her family with their financial struggles; only to find out later that she had actually been sold into a prostitution brothel by her stepfather. The story is about Lakshmi's incredible journey and I recommend it without reservation if you are prepared to discuss the prevalent issues. Let me know how much you LOVE them! Until then

Keep up the good work!
Love,
Mrs. James