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The Power of Two: A Reading Race

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In a recent entry I talked about motivating my non-reader 13-year-old to read a book titled The Power of One. I received some thoughtful suggestions from readers of this blog for how to motivate non-readers, such as sharing the reading of the book aloud occasionally or just talking about the characters in the book with him.

Nobody, however, recommended the use of competition. Yet competition is exactly what appears to be having a positive effect. His 10-year-old brother (who is a big reader) picked up a copy of the same book and started reading it. This prompted his older brother to begin reading more of the book to stay ahead in the race to finish it.

Last night, both of them were reading the book in their room and talking about the characters. It was music to my ears as I stood outside their room eavesdropping.

Stay tuned for updates on the great reading race.

4 Comments

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Kevin,
I had a similar experience about the motivating power of competition in my math class. I found that the most reluctant/struggling learners would be more likely to participate in class if I made part of the lesson a game. They got really excited about doing math when competition was involved.

The competition between your sons sounds great: they are discussing the books! The problem I have is with school reading competitions. The students don't really read, they just fly through the books; there is no discussion; it's just a big bunch of hoopla that doesn't last.

My middle child was my most ADHD type of child. He struggled with reading and math until he was 25 which is when the brain finishes maturing.

He could not/would not learn and memorize his multiplication tables even with flash cards, mystery mommy motivators, and coercion.

THAT was until his younger brother was in 4th grade and he was in 10th grade. I was drilling the younger brother on flash cards and made a game out of it between the two figuring the older one would win the contest.

WELL, the result was the 10 year old won and my then 15 year old said, "Gee, I better learn my multiplication facts!" AND he did!

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