first steps into independent reading

This past weekend I was lucky enough to cross paths with a bloggy buddy of mine.  It was the first time I have had a face to face interaction with one of the women in my network of bloggers.   I cannot tell you how excited I was.

Melissa, author of Imagination Soup is just as wonderful in person as she is online.  Our conversation could have gone on and on.  We talked about our families, we talked about blogging and we talked about upcoming adventures that we have planned for the near future.  Before Melissa left I couldn’t resist asking her a question about a subject she knows very well.  Reading.

Big M is learning how to read.  I was very excited about this new journey we would take into independent reading, until I realized he suddenly didn’t want anything to do with reading.  I was shocked.  We’ve been reading books together since he was a baby and he has loved every minute of it.

Why has he suddenly become so resistant?  I admit I’ve been in a bit of a panic.  Not because I am concerned about his reading level, but because I want him to LOVE reading.  I was so relieved when Melissa gave me some tips to help encourage independent reading without squashing his love of reading.

Shall I share?

1.  Melissa recommended a few books that sound perfect for Big M.  I know that providing him with books that interest him will increase the chances of him picking one up on his own.  You’ll find a ton of book lists over at Imagination Soup… but here are a couple of my favorites.  Early Readers and Easy Chapter Books and Recommended Early Reader Books for Young Learners.

2.  I love, love, love the idea of reading a book halfway through (making sure Big M is engaged) and then walking away to tend to “urgent” matters.  Will the book be enticing enough for him to finish it on his own?

3.  Another fabulous idea Melissa shared is to put a clip light on Big M’s bed.  That way he can read himself to sleep.

Above all else, I am hanging on to a comment Melissa made at the end of our conversation.  “Maybe he’s just not ready.”  Ahhh, that’s what I needed to hear.  I knew it but was getting swept up into the fun of this new chapter.  Rushing him into independent reading will surely squash his love for this important skill.  With Melissa’s tips, our summer will help Big M ease into reading…. all by himself.

Thank you Melissa.  I hope our paths cross again!


  1. How fun that you were able to meet in person! I find that my son will sit for hours with a Star Wars or Scooby Doo graphic novel (aka comic book!). It’s not exactly my favorite genre, but he is reading and enjoying it. Another idea is to let your son look at I Spy or other Search and Find books for a while. He may not be ready for reading, but all kids are ready for books!

    1. Search and Find books are a great idea! He also loves Star Wars. I haven’t been able to find them at his level, but I guess I’ll look a little harder.

  2. It’s funny how we all sometimes need confirmation of things we already know. It’s just because it’s our child that involved as opposed to students we may be teaching. My youngest boy is at the same stage in learning to read. Sometimes, I just stop reading when he’s engaged in a book and he finishes the next word and then I continue reading on. It’s sort of like literal shared reading. That way, the pressure is off him and we still both enjoy the story. But really, it’s more important to enjoy the story and let time pass so that he’ll be more willing and ready to engage in solitary reading. In the meantime, I’m enjoying all the hugs that come with reading to my little man. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I am loving the cuddles too! Good point… I’ll make sure not to rush past this point. It won’t be long before I’m begging him to read with me!

  3. wonderful advice indeed! Kids really need time to adjust to reading independently. My daughter prefers the safety net of having me with her when she reads. We are doing a few minutes of independent reading at a time and she is gaining confidence each day. 🙂 Good luck!

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