chat center

Latest Posts Full Chatboard Submit Post

Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 3 Number 2

Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "...effective teachers do not employ tricks of the trade, the latest fad, or untested opinions..." This month the Wongs feature Liz Breaux, a most effective teacher...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Bridget Scofinsky
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
The Visually Impaired Child by Dave Melanson
Seussational Reading Excitement - NEA's Read Across America: Too Much Reading Fun for Just One Day!...
The 100th Day of School
100th Day Activities
Television--Don't Trash It--Control It
Remediation Doesn't Work
Behavior Management Tips
Children and Stress
Children Do Grieve
Infuse Test Preparation With Life-long Learning
Technology Integration Has No Hope of Succeeding!
Technophobia to Technophilia
Cooperative Learning
Why All Students Need Fine Motor Skills
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 3)
The Role of EFL learners' Heterogeneity in Terms of Age in Their Use of Communication Strategies
The Importance of the School Administration to Student Achievement
Using Non-Fiction to Motivate Reluctant Readers
Quantity over Quality--The Problem with Writing Instruction in Our Schools
Tips for Substitute Teachers
From "I Don't Care" to "I Did It!"
Rules for Secondary Classrooms
Block Scheduling
Special Days This Month
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • Exceptional Normalcy
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    Featured Lessons from the Lesson Bank
  • Famous Black Americans
  • Valentine Village
  • Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    Chatboard Poll
    Arecibo Radar Gets 11th-Hour Reprieve
    Planetary Society Offers New Scholarships
    Gazette Home Delivery:

    Teacher Feature...

    Using Non-Fiction to Motivate Reluctant Readers

    by J G Scott

    "No more books," Luke told his teacher when she asked where his reading material was. "I can't read anyway, so what's the point?"

    "No more books," Luke told his teacher when she asked where his reading material was. "I can't read anyway, so what's the point?"

    Luke was ten and had just been diagnosed dyslexic. His parents and teacher were concerned that he was quickly becoming a reluctant reader, as virtually every book they suggested Luke read was dismissed for one reason or another.

    His teacher described Luke as intelligent and articulate, with a very good vocabulary. At home and at school, Luke was lively and keen to learn new things; however when it came to opening a book or writing his thoughts and ideas down, he seemed to lose all motivation.

    Luke is typical of many dyslexic children, exhibiting above average verbal skills and below average reading and writing skills. This discrepancy is often what alerts parents and teachers to the fact that a child has a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, rather than a global or general one.

    Many dyslexic children absorb facts and information like sponges. Often, for children with reading difficulties, the main source of their knowledge is the spoken word. Enabling children with dyslexia, as well as other types of specific difficulties, to become independent readers can seem a daunting task for parents and teachers. Non-fiction books are often wonderful ways to encourage less able or reluctant readers to discover the joys of literature and learning.

    Fact books are hooks which motivate children to read. Helping children discover that reading is enjoyable is much more effective than merely telling them so.

    Providing dyslexics with, or guiding them towards, appropriate books is important. Too much writing on a page can be very intimidating for children with reading difficulties, causing them to give up before they have even tried to make sense of the writing. Short captions or chunked text alongside pictures is much more welcoming for less able readers.

    Non-fiction books can also help children realise that reading is useful. A chocolate cake, a pop-up greeting card or a model castle can be successful - and treasured - products of a reading experience.

    Parents and teachers who realise that a once reluctant reader is becoming more independent are often justifiably proud that their encouragement is taking effect. It is important, though, not to abandon children as their reluctance to read decreases. Discussing the contents of a book with children shows that you enjoy reading too, but more importantly that you care about what they are interested in.

    Asking children to explain some of the information they read about also allows adults to check their comprehension and understanding. The discussion does not need to be simply a question-and-answer affair, but can be turned into a fun activity. Play a game, or pretend you're on a quiz show, for example.

    The humiliation and frustration which many dyslexic children feel at being presented with a book they feel is intended for someone much younger than themselves can turn them into reluctant readers . Non-fiction books are seen by many children as mature and sophisticated. They see the acquisition of facts as real learning, which gives fact books a certain prestige.

    Anyone who has ever seen children with reading difficulties take ownership of a book, become fascinated by its contents and want to share their new-found knowledge with others, will appreciate what a magical moment that is. That day came for Luke's parents and teacher soon after he'd begun to take a real interest in non-fiction.

    They decided not to force him to continue with the reading books assigned in class, but to present him with a book about ships, a topic he was very interested in. Luke not only read the book, he brought it back the next day anxious to tell the entire class what he'd learned.

    Luke's parents and teacher described seeing Luke's confidence as a reader and as a learner increase dramatically as a wonderful experience. He now reads independently and has recently joined his local library, where he chooses fiction as well as non-fiction books.

    For more information see: