How to Raise Power Readers

How to Raise Power Readers

As a mother, when my day at home goes EXACTLY as my dream vision would have it go… we do an hour of silent reading together as a family in the afternoon.  Well – that dream life is a bit hit and miss these days, but I still always shoot for my dreams.  Shoot for Mars and land on the moon right? Or something like that…

I realize that in my quick video intro of “Sustained Silent Reading” – SSR (Sustained Silent Reading as defined by Wikipedia HERE), that I have two children proclaiming “Dick & Jane” as their favorite books, another reading Maus (which is a comic hardback) and another touting Harry Potter as his fave.  Not as inspiring as my ideal vision… I thought about a re-shoot of the video after racing to replace their books in hand with a more convincing and impressive show of Les Mis, Treasure Island, Huck Finn and Narnia.  Fortunately, I didn’t create the second (false) version.

The truth is… I let my kids read what they like and I shoot for quantity and attempt to lead them into quality (my eldest did just finish Les Mis at 15 and we enjoyed that movie together last month to celebrate).

In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through you. -Mortimer Adler

And another child is getting the quantity in to help boost my hopes for success as a family of readers. I can often be found chanting to them… “Larsons are readers and readers are leaders!”

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island and, best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life. – Walt Disney

So here is the secret to raising POWER READERS… (my third just read over 8000 pages this summer and my first scored off the charts on his first ACT sections for English and reading as a 9th grader, so amidst the Dick and Jane late bloomers, we’ve got some success rockets going off!).

Here are my reminders to myself…

  1. Battle the screens – just say no! And then say no again and again and again and again and again… AND AGAIN!
  3. May I recommend a daily “Silent Reading” time as a family (ours right now is 3:30… though my favorite time of day is RIGHT after lunch when babies and toddlers are sleeping)
  4. Let them see YOU reading (that is a big part of SSR) they need to see an adult example!!! (AND it’s so relaxing to read yourself – a great reset button for the day to energize you for shift #2 through the late hours)

Our guidelines for our family silent reading tradition are (as eloquently outlined by the Larson boy tribe in the very professional video):

  1. One child per couch cushion (cross the line and you’re out… can you tell I’m raising a tribe of physical boys and thus we need such parameters to help us out.)
  2. You must have a chapter book or a pile of books (enough reading material to last a full hour)
  3. SILENCE!!!!  (That is why it’s called “Silent Reading”) It’s a privilege to be old enough and mature enough to come to silent reading… so if you are a chatter box… then you are probably not yet ready and thus it’s off to nap time for you!
  4. READ (for the younger ones, this often means going through book after book just looking at pictures if they are pre-readers)

That’s it!  My favorite hour of the day!  I LOVE SILENT READING! And my Larson readers do to!  The secret is to not give up on the habit.  It is one worth fighting for!  The rules of course are up to your family to create or break or throw out all together… but do consider creating or reviving or trying a silent reading hour (or minute or 30 minutes).

I cannot live without books. -Thomas Jefferson

Great books help the process!  You may want to consider the AMAZING resource “The Read Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease. HERE. It’s a powerful resource, worthy of a yearly reading reminder to help select great books for various ages, read alouds for families and critical research and reminders to keep us all motivated.

The best part about making this short video was Briggy’s enthusiasm for “being on YOUTUBE again!” It’s the little things!

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”~ Jacqueline Kennedy


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