The Gift of Reading

I read a lot. Back when I was a child, I would use a flashlight under the covers after bedtime so I could get some more reading time. At least until my mother busted me…

In the sixth grade, I turned in so many book reports that my reading certificate was covered front and back with the “extra report” gold seal stickers that represented 10 books each. I thought it looked ridiculous, so even though I kept reading at about the same rate in subsequent grades (about 4-6 books a week), I only turned in enough book reports to get the certificate and one gold seal, and then stopped doing the reports.

Because of my reading skills, I did very well in school. I have also done very well in a highly technical career.

I took great care to pass my love of reading on to my daughter, starting by reading aloud to her while she was still an infant. Amazingly, it was the one activity for which she would remain calm and still for almost an unlimited time, so I would read to her for an hour or more almost every evening after I got home from work. She also did well in school and college, and is now a teacher.

Unfortunately, not every child develops good reading skills. In that case, the child has a tremendous handicap. The child with a reading handicap is very unlikely to do well at academics, and also unlikely to have a rewarding career.

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to poor reading skills. One big one is nutrition, which is a large topic probably more suited to another blog post. Another is a basic failure of the public school system. For this, I have a suggestion. Well, more than one suggestion, but I’ll stick with a Politically Correct one here.

Ari Fertel, Inventor of <a href="">Reading Buddy</a>

Ari Fertel, Inventor of Reading Buddy

If you have a grandchild (or child — but if you are a baby-boomer, your children are likely to be grown, so I’m assuming grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren) who is a struggling reader, I would recommend Reading Buddy. It is an interactive reading program that will dramatically improve your grandchild’s reading fluency in a matter of a few weeks. It is the invention of a lady named Ari Fertel, who had a child with a reading disability, and decided that there had to be a better way to address that problem than hiring a reading tutor.

She did several years of research into how best to teach reading fluency, and came up with the program she now calls Reading Buddy. This program can be used by a child with a reading deficit for an hour or more every day, and will result in noticeable improvement in reading ability almost immediately.

It has several advantages over a reading tutor. For starters, it can be used on whatever schedule is best for the student, typically every day for at least a half-hour. Paying a skilled reading tutor to come in every day on an arbitrary schedule would cost a fortune.

To use Reading Buddy, the parent/guardian first sets up a reward system. This isn’t done as a default, because only someone close to the child will know what sorts of rewards work best. The rewards can be almost anything from a trip to the ice cream shop to a special toy. As it turns out, monetary rewards don’t work as well for most children, but you can be the judge for that for your case.

The program then takes over, with an entertaining set of characters designed to appeal to children in elementary or middle school. It provides an engaging set of exercises to keep the child absorbed in the process for a extended time, in a game-like setting that awards “points” toward various levels of prizes as determined by the parent or guardian who set it up. It’s designed to be practically addictive!

In addition to the improvement in reading fluency, you should also notice substantial improvement in attention span.

Who knows… You (or the child’s parents) may have to “bust” him or her for reading with a flashlight under the covers after bedtime. Just be sure to tell the child that you are tickled pink about the new-found enjoyment of reading, but that sleep is important, too.

Improve your child’s (or grandchild’s) reading by 50% in 3 months (or less) Your grandchild could be using it today.

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