ThinkStretch does not print reading selections in their workbooks because kids do not like them.
And why would they? Either the text is too hard, or it is written on a topic that does not interest them. Or, worse yet, it is a poorly written few paragraphs designed to fit a set of follow up questions. To truly get kids to like reading, they need to have a say in what they read. Study after study has shown that kids who choose their own books are significantly more likely to not only complete the book, but to read more often. In fact, 91% of students agree to the statement “I am more likely to finish reading a book that I picked out myself.”
A child’s interest in a book is more predictive of finishing the book than the leveled reading selection.
In other words, a child will learn and stretch their abilities to finish reading a “too hard” book that they have chosen because it interests them. The researcher, Dr. Worthy, eloquently stated, ““Focusing on children’s interests in selecting reading materials may be more beneficial in promoting reading success than a focus on reading level itself. When children have a strong interest in what they read, they can frequently transcend their reading level.” ThinkStretch respects kids and their interests, so we let them choose their reading – we don’t choose for them.
That does not mean that parents should not suggest books for their child to read.
In fact, a parent who is in tune with what their child likes to read and is able to point out similar books for the child, are much more likely to have a middle schooler who is still considered a “frequent” reader. The key message here is to engage with your child about reading. Listen to what your child likes and doesn’t like, ask the librarian for suggestions for your child, and share ideas for new books with your child.