Encouraging Independent Reading

My daughter, who is now 11, was having trouble in 4th grade because she was required to read in the accelerated reading program at school and then take a computer test to earn points for her grade. She would have a lot of trouble getting 10 points unless she read a lot of little books with simple print in them. After awhile, she brought home a book worth 10 points and told me she was going to read one book. It was really tough and she gave up quickly. 

Instead of letting her give up on the goal, I thought maybe I would read with her and help her get over this hump about not getting these big words and encourage her about reading. I know this is one of the most basic skills we have to have in life. It builds on all kinds of other things not only academically, but even in jobs later on in life. I decided to read out loud with her. In the beginning, I admit, I read most of the first book and the second book. By the third book I told her to read a chapter. She would read one chapter out lout to me. She would go to school, pass the test because she retained everything and earned the 10 points. 

So I decided to keep it up and keep moving her toward reading the whole book. She began reading more chapters and by the start of this school year when she was heading into 6th grade, she could finally read her chapters smoothly. I realized that when I thought I was being a crutch for her by reading to her, she was reading the pages with me. That's why she remembered it all. Now, if I skip a word, she'll correct me. So we are successful and we have read a series of books together and get excited and can't wait to read the next book. 

I am gaining so much myself because I look forward to reading time. I want to know what happens next. Now it is more like our "special" time. She looks forward to her turn now and I am so proud that we have accomplished this. I know that I have set her on the right path with reading and that now I don't have anything to fear when she gets into high school and she has to read those big books, she'll already have the groundwork.