Tale of a Magic Book
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the magic at work. It was well into October and one of my students had yet to finish a book. It was like he was allergic to reading. At the time, my own son was the same age and was immersed in reading The Fab Five, which recounted the tale of the famous Univerity of Michigan basketball team. I offered it to Donny and like magic, he finished it in no time flat. I still have the response letter he wrote to me, admitting that it was the first book he had ever finished in his life. Wow! It brought tears to my eyes. By the end of the year, Donny had finished another eight books, even ones that were not sports-related.
What is a Magic Book?
Over the years, many versions of that story have played out as I realized the power of connecting reluctant readers with a “Magic” book. By my definition, a Magic book is a book that will reel them in like no other, speak to their heart and remain in their mind as an example of the power and pleasure of reading.
How Do I Find A Magic Book?
There really is no magic formula, but here is an acronym that may help in your quest to find magic books for your child. At times, the quest can be daunting, but when you find the magic, it’s well worth it!
M – MOTIVATION: The book will have a strong appeal to the reader, inspiring him to open the pages.
A – ACCESSIBILITY: In educational lingo, an accessible book simply means that the reader is able to read and enjoy it with little or no support. Don’t rely on reading level alone to determine a book’s accessibility. Background knowledge, font size, pictures and other text supports, as well as motivation to read it, are all factors that help make a book accessible.
G – GENRE: Short texts, magazines and read alouds can clue you in to what appeals to your child. Find great books in an appealing genre to whet your child’s appetite.
I – INTEREST: Consider your child’s hobbies, struggles, unique situations or basically anything that gets to the core of who he/she is. Find related books and see what happens.
C – COMPREHENSION: The ability to understand and follow the text is crucial if it’s going to be enjoyable. Have your child read a page aloud and keep track of words he is unable to identify. If it’s more than five, the book is probably too hard. After your child begins to read, check in with him. Can he retell the story, keep the characters straight, understand the background? Help clarify confusions to make the book go more smoothly and heighten the ease and pleasure of reading.