Pam Allyn and Ernest Morrell state, “Often schools perceive unmotivated readers as kids who do not value reading when the real problem is that the students lack confidence in themselves as readers. When students’ confidence as readers increase so does their motivation and ultimately, their reading achievement”.
This chapter in Every Child a Super Reader was the perfect one for me to read this week. I have two daughters and one of them lacks a lot of confidence in her reading which often leads to melt downs when its time to do her daily reading. Its frustrating to me because in the time she is upset and crying over not being able to read she could be working on her reading. I know she has an issue of confidence which creates a lot of anxiety and I should not be frustrated but as a parent its really tough sometimes when we are right in those moments.
Some of the strategies the book recommends is finding a book where a character has to go through a difficult time and succeeds. I have done this with my daughter I even read the book they suggested I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, excellent book by the way, but my daughter didn’t connect to it, she enjoyed it but didn’t see herself in it. We had a moment in Barnes and Noble the other day where I made a huge mom/principal mistake my daughter picked out a book she really wanted to read, Mal’s Diary from Disney’s Descendants. The book was a larger chapter book and I told her I thought it would be too hard for her to read and to pick one of the easy readers. I totally crushed her, she got tears in her eyes and told me she was never going to read again. I immediately regretted my statement but I couldn’t take back the damage to her confidence. I apologized to her, we purchased the book and she has been working her way through it for the last week. She is so proud of herself when she finishes a page, even though its slow, and she is struggling she is doing it and that is building more confidence then anything.
Along with helping students find characters or stories that inspire confidence, and working through difficult text, here are some additional suggestions for building confidence.
-Have students write down three things they are proud of themselves for.
-Have family members share about how they boost their own confidence, parents and older siblings sharing about not feeling confident will make younger students feel like they are not alone.
-Write anonymous notes of praise to your child, with specific things you are proud of them for.
-Talk about stories or books you are reading that highlight building confidence or productive struggle.