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Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do by Daniel T. Willingham

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Chapter 10The Reluctant Older Reader

I’ve already noted that reading motivation declines steadily as children age, reaching its lowest point by about grade 10. In this chapter, we consider strategies that teachers and parents might employ to arrest the slide.

What’s Happening at School

In a nutshell, the problem of motivation is this: We want the child to do something we think is important but she chooses not to do it. That is, of course, a very common problem in classrooms. The typical motivator is punishment. A student who doesn’t do the required work is punished by low grades, or perhaps the feeling of disappointing the teacher, or even feeling ashamed should the failure become public. But by the time a child is in middle school, these ...

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