By Carol Lloyd
The reading demands on kids jump a level this year. Suddenly there are reports, multi-week projects, and — at the end of the year — anxiously anticipated standardized tests. It’s also the year that marks the rise of what’s sometimes called “shut-down learners.” Kids who, for whatever mixture of reasons, have decided they hate school.
What does this have to do with reading? You might be surprised. At this age, kids begin to notice that reading groups have different levels of readers. They may be sensitive and feel that these learning tracks are unfair. This can happen even if children are basically on track with their reading. In fourth grade, reading abilities can vary widely — from kids who are just beginning the simplest chapter books to those who are reading novels aimed at teens. It’s also the point when most kids have a huge potential to learn about a topic in-depth. With the right mix of books, encouragement, and projects, fourth graders can become little scientists, gourmet cookie chefs, devoted artists, or thoughtful storytellers. The key is to help your child tap into his passions.
Try this: Spend a weekend morning finding the right books — this could mean a trip to a great library or bookstore or approaching someone with the same interests as your child for book recommendations. At this point, it’s not enough for your child to read only the stuff assigned at school. Nor should he just read the hot book all his friends are reading. He needs access to books that allow him to dive deep into his own special view of the world — and to see that, whatever happens in school, books are there for him.
Read more about your fourth grader and reading.
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