I am having an issue with a child who hates to read and what I should do about summer reading.
I'd like advice from everyone but I'd really appreciate any teachers who might drop in.
A little background:
My youngest might generally dislike reading but he is an excellent reader. He taught himself to read before he started school, at the end of the year they were working him at a low 3rd grade level. He is odd in that he hated the reading at his level but was happy as a clam when he got to do the kindergarten level, being bored was something he WANTED.
I was told by the aide that he should be reading stuff like Magic Tree House and Junie B. Jones without much problem.
We have tried buying him books in subjects that he likes but generally he only reads them once. Our local "public" library charges a yearly fee and I'd be lucky to find one or two books in subjects he'd like because most of the books it has are novels for women so that isn't an option.
When I can get him to read it's books that he could read without issue 6 months or more ago so he isn't challenging himself.
I had the opposite issue with my older son, he couldn't read quite so well at this age but we had to make him go play instead of read and he was always trying harder books. And if they made him do grade level reading for even one day he complained.
I have been setting aside the early afternoon for reading but I haven't been limiting his book choices. We do have quite a few books at the right level for him but we also have many that are easy.
So should I continue making him read for a certain amount of time every day? And should I start limiting his reading choices to books that are at the proper level?
Okay. this is just my experience and how I got around the issue of a child who, to say the least, was not an avid reader. My oldest son devoured books which is why I was stumped as to how to "force" my younger son to read. In my school system, they have mandatory books they must read over summer break (on which they are tested within the first week of school resuming.) I got him the taped version of the book he was being asked to read. That way, he could hear the words as he read along with the narrator. It seemed to help him get into the story more fully. (I am very familiar with Magic Tree House Series as well as Junie B. Jones and other popular authors/ series in that age range, but am not sure if there are books on tape that might include those particular series.)
In that time that we struggled, I also learned that even though my oldest son would read anything, my youngest son wanted only to read what caught his interest. So. If he thought he was interested in a Garfield book, I let him check that out. It was not "traditional" in the sense of it being a "chapter book," but it caught his interest and he was more likely to read the entire book. He also loved Reader's Digest and the sections like Humor in Uniform and Laughter is the Best Medicine. Hey, I figured if that made him want to read, then I wasn't going to force him into what others were telling me he should be reading.
Anyway, it seemed as if my younger son became a more interested reader from that point on. Now, at 17, he is a Senior taking College English in High School for full credit.
Don't fret overly much. The kinks will work out. Work with him to find what he wants to read and see if reading becomes less work and more fun. He may never be a "recreational" reader. Some just are not, but it does not mean they are not excellent readers...
Edited to add (after reading I though it did not sound quite too clear) that I think your current path of not limiting his choices is how I approached the issue and it all worked out fine.
My big concern about letting him read what he wants is losing skills over the summer. I don't know how concerned I should be since he's well above grade level and losing a little wouldn't put him behind. But at the same time they worked him to make alot of progress, he started with a low first grade reading level and jumped to early 3rd by the end of the year, so I don't know if it would be good for him to lose that work either.
I'm not saying that I want to dictate subjects, just reading level.
Children actually do not have a single reading level. We assess our students to find both their instructional and independent reading level. I would encourage you to have him read lots of different types (genres) of books-nonfiction, biographies, mysteries, fanciful fiction, fantasy, even the 80's choose your own ending books. Most kids actually really like to read when they find the type of books that interests them. Sometimes they are bears to get to read and then they find an author or genre they love and you can't stop them from reading. I laugh myself silly with some of the Junie B. Jones books, and books like "Cluck, Quack, Moo, Cows that Type" and "Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" but many little boys would rather read books about their favorite sports team or reptiles.
Don't forget to read to him also. When kids start to read often parents stop reading to them. Reading can be a great thing to do together.
If he loves easy "little kid" books, let him read them! Yeah, I can read on a post graduate level, but to be honest I love the "little kid" books I read to the kids too! The illustrations and story messages are fabulous-What's not to love???
Be honest-what do you see the adults reading on the beach in the summer?
Difficult texts or quick, easy stories?
Reading is reading, he most likely will not lose any reading ability through the summer as long as he keeps reading.
At our school we focus more on creating life long readers, rather that trying to push them through to read harder and harder texts. It should be a journey, not a race.