Lorraine1118 asks:

Should I force my 12 year old daughter to read?

I have a 12 year old Daughter who is just about to enter the 7th grade, and still will not read with out me forcing the issue.  She knows how to read but doe4s everything in her power to get out of it.
What I would like to know is much time should be alotted each night just for reading and how much time to complete regular homework.  I feel this is the year that I have to buckle down and force the issue more.  Your comments are appriciated.
In Topics: Helping my child with reading
> 60 days ago



Sylvia HS
Apr 12, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Lorraine,

Have you had your daughter's reading level assessed by a reading specialist?  This is very important for you to know because she may be frustrated by grade six materials.  The words and the concepts may be too difficult for her right now.

If she's not reading at a grade six level, here are some suggestions for you:

-Have her taught by the school's resource teacher.  This person can work with her individually, or in a small group, teaching her how to unlock the multi-syllable words that she needs to be able to read.

-Secure a tutor for her.  If you have a copy of the reading assessment, let the tutor know exactly what your daughter's skills are, so that the tutor knows what to work on with her.

-Let her read graphic novels.

-Read her textbooks to her.

-Let her read books about movies she's seen.

-Do the 5 Finger Test with her.  Open a book to the middle.  Count 100 words.  Have your daughter start reading.  Each time she doesn't know a word, have her raise her finger.  If she raises more than five fingers, then this book is too hard for her.

-Look at the lower, right-hand corner of tradebooks.  You'll find the letters "RL" or "AL".  Underneath, you'll find an age level.  This is the reading/interest level that the publisher suggests for this book.

If your daughter finds the abstract concepts taught at a grade six level difficult for her, you could do this:

-Turn every abstract, unfamiliar concept into a concrete, familiar concept.  For instance, if she's studying democracy, then talk about how democracy starts in her own home, to help people get along.  Rules are established so that people are safe and learn how to behave.  Gradually, you could move away from her home, to her town/city, to her state, and to her country.  Every concept can be taught this way, from the familiar/concrete to the unfamiliar/abstract.  This is the way that students learn and remember information.  Also, it's the way that they become interested in the topics taught at school.  You daughter's teacher could help you with this.

Your daughter may be able to read and comprehend at a grade six level.  It is very difficult to say, exactly, how many minutes of reading and how many minutes of homework a grade six student should do each day.  Again, you could talk to your daughter's teacher.  What is known for sure, is that the most successful students do consistent reading and daily homework.  By reading and doing homework each day, your daughter is developing the habits of a successful student and these are important to develop as early as possible.

If she's resistant, and she CAN read her materials without frustration, then you could set up a motivation system with her, using points and rewards.

Sylvia HS, M.Ed. Reading Specialist, Author

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Additional Answers (3)

KidAngel writes:
Hi Lorraine,
You did not mention any LD's involved in her reading issues, so I will assume she is a normal 7th grader. It appears what is going on is that your daughter has €œskill gaps". Meaning she has missed important foundational reading skills. Therefore she struggles to read and is it not very much fun. This reason has caused her to lose motivation when it comes to reading. School DOES NOT go back and pick up missing skills, schools mode is to move forward with their teaching whether the student has all the skill set or not. What you need to do is to research a reading program that does "supplemental education". That mode of teaching does GO BACK and picks up missing skill sets. That Mom is the only way your daughter is going to get on her true grade level with reading. Do not think she is doing this because she is lazy or does not care. She does care. It would be much easier for her if she had her full skill set and did not need to go through this with her Mom. You cannot force the issue without getting her missing skills replaced. I would bet that she has struggled with her reading skills for years. Remember back to when she first started having reading issues. That will tell the tale. That is the year that she started missing skills and it does not get better only worse. Trust me on this Mom. I've worked with over 12000 parents on educational issues and missing "skill gaps" are 9 times out of 10 the issue of why a student struggles with a certain subject. Reading and homework go hand in hand with the issue. If she is not on grade level with her reading her homework is also affected. Thank you for being invested in your child€™s academic health. Good Luck!

Barbara Antinoro
Educational Counselor
Kid Angel Foundation
Education.com Team
> 60 days ago

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Allyn Anderson
Allyn Anderson writes:
To answer your last question first, many educators believe that ten minutes a night per grade level is an appropriate amount of homework for a child. However, as your child moves into middle school and then into high school, an hour may not be enough. If your child is taking an 'advanced class' (band, foreign language, or advanced math), plan to add an additional thirty minutes an evening for each.

Reading is a skill we all want to can continue to build. Is it possible that your daughter considers the time reading together as a special time for her --- a chance to get Mom all to herself? If so, your daughter will probably continue to reserve reading as an activity to do with Mom. You might consider introducing a wider variety of reading materials for her. Some students enjoy reading "graphic novels;" they are what some might call comic books in book form. Magazines in your daughters areas of interest would be great places to start. Another alternative is having your daughter read can labels and recipes for you when you cook the evening meal.It doesn't matter what a child reads, we just want them to read.

Setting aside time in the evening for for all family members to read is a great idea. For about twenty minutes five or six times a week, consider putting your phone's answering machine on and turn the TV off. Have everyone put their feet up and read. This would a great family time together. You might find that it evolves into members sharing with others about what they read.

And, if your daughter still wants you to read to her, why not? Your daughter will still be developing reading skills as she reads along silently with you. To shake it up, you could read one paragraph and ask your daughter to read the next; eventually you can move this up to a page. Since she is not an independent reader at this time, you might want to consider reading her text assignments with her too. The reading and subsequent discussions will help build her academic skills in that subject. This would certainly yield double gains!

You might also consider taking her to the library or to a book store to see what your daughter gravitates towards. Hopefully, the trip would give you insight into her likes and dislikes. A favorite of many middle school students is "The Wimpy Kid" series.

Preteens can be a delight as they begin to "become the people they will be." You will begin to catch more glimpses of your daughter exerting her increasing independence in the months to come. Enjoy your designated reading time whether it be independently or together!
> 60 days ago

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BigSis writes:
I'm not sure how much this would help you, but have you both visited the library or the book store together? Maybe if she's able to pick out a suitable book to read (as well as holds interest to her), it might encourage her to look forward to reading on a more constant basis.

In case you and you're daughter are interested, I've included a link to a middle school reading list.

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