don’t let the boredom bug bite

This is crucial. When we’re trying to help our children/teens/adults learn to read, we need–above all–to engage them first. If our learners are bored with what we’re putting in front of them, the boredom bug bites hard, and we’ll struggle mightily to get them back on board. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

bored or overwhelmed?

Related to the Boredom Bug is the Over-Overwhelm. It’s just as bad. When a learner looks at a page that’s stuffed with small type, the curtain comes down and the show’s over. As in, really over. Good luck with getting them back.

Your easy guidelines

So are there some basic guidelines to avoiding both problems.

  1. The reading material–whatever it is–has to be something they’re really interested in. Start there. So you have to teach boring classroom material? Start your teaching session with something that rocks their socks. Once they’re on board, move on to the less interesting. Don’t start with the tough stuff.
  2. Keep the type large and the white space around it big! This is a no-brainer, but is rarely adhered to in commercial resources. Photocopy and enlarge material; make 1 page into 4 pages, etc.
  3. Mix it up. In my workshops, I compare this to shuffling a deck of cards: think of each card as a different reading activity/material. Mix it up; keep it lively and interesting. For example, use a mix of personal books, personal pages, personal lotto matching games, ABC sound apps (if the sounds aren’t solidly learned yet), modified trade books (Think “Frozen”), and of course the fun reading books from my Special Reads Program. (Spaghetti, I Want Pizza, etc.)
  4. Keep your teaching sessions short. With an emergent reader, start with 5 min. 2x a day and go from there. And pay attention to the “deck of cards” mixing idea. If you teach anything twice a day for a week, your learner will be snoring. Mix it up!

That’s it. Start there.

You’ll be avoiding major roadblocks if you follow those simple tips. They work!



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