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Recreational Reading: A Secret for Success

Lifelong learning is initiated when a student learns to read for his own benefit.  Students often read only because it is necessary to acquire information to complete academic exercises; that is, they read because they have to. Once a student realizes that reading can also help him acquire information that helps him achieve success in matters that are important to him outside of the classroom, such as fielding a baseball, hitting a homerun, making free throws, finding bass in the shallows, or doing an "Ollie" on his skateboard, the child is much more likely to take the initiative and read "for pleasure."  This can easily be accomplished through parental interaction. By creating a recreational reading list that includes books at the appropriate reading level on topics of interest to the child, parents are much more likely to receive "buy-in" from their child the next time they ask him to read for pleasure.  The two things that parents must focus on are their child's interests and his reading level.  Don't expect your child to become passionate about what you're interested in; just as you wouldn't appreciate someone telling you what to read for pleasure, neither will your child.  Keep in mind that choosing books that are too easy will likely bore your child, while selecting books that are too difficult will probably frustrate him, and your good intentions will be lost or misinterpreted. 

Choose books from which your child can gain important or useful information.  If your daughter is a golfer, select a book that will help her improve her putting.  If your son is interested in surfing, find books that will help him learn new maneuvers.  When your child starts learning on his own from books, the process will last a lifetime. He just needs to see the correlation between reading and gaining useful information.

Multiple studies have shown that students who read on their own not only have higher reading levels than students who don't read recreationally, but their vocabularies are also much more advanced.  Give your child an advantage by encouraging recreational reading.

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