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  • Writer's pictureGaila Cohen Morrison

Dear Gaila - Getting my child to read

Dear Gaila,

What is the best way I can help my child improve his English reading?

One of Many Mothers...

Dear Mother,

I have said it once or twice or maybe a million times but I will say it again - to improve their English, you need to get your child to READ, READ, READ.

Now, your response will probably be - well yes, but how?!?

Practice makes reading enjoyable

Let's look at children who do read. Over the past few days several parents have come to me to ask for books for their children to read. I happily dumped lots of books on them. Why are their children reading?!

Some are looking to fill out their Summer Reading Log that we assigned to them. Others to get the bike their father has promised them when they read 10,000 pages (a.k.a. bribery). Perhaps some want to fill up their reading chart. A few grandchildren are attempting to fulfill their daily 10 minute quota to get a prize from their Grandma - or best of all - because they want to read!

Reading to the finish line!

I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you a story of a non-reader who has just become a reader:

While records are being broken in Rio, here in Israel one boy is as excited as any gold medal winning Olympic swimmer. Ido has been plodding away reading 10 minutes a day for a month. This won him a set of Magic Tree House books (remember the bribery method?...). Ido loves the Magic Tree House books, but reading is hard, and he can't read much more than 10 minutes a day before he gets tired of it. Yesterday, his mother read him three chapters of The Magic Tree House. When she was finished, Ido sat and stared at it - and suddenly realized that he could read it himself! In fact, he read several more chapters! This is a kid who the day before had just told me that 10 minutes was his limit.

Ido broke the code! He can read by himself!

Ido called me up to share the news. His excitement was incredible. He could not stop talking, words just bubbling out. He is capable of reading what he is interested in!!! As he said to me: "I didn't know I could read the Magic Tree House!"

Perseverance pays off, so get your child reading using every trick of the trade. Eventually they will be capable of reading - and enjoying - their own Magic Tree House.


Gaila has almost 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns

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