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Taking on the School Book Report

Carissa D. Lamkahouan offers advice on how to help your child read for school.

The book report – it’s a classic isn’t it? And like most classics, you either love it or you don’t. Still, whether you enjoy fond memories of this nearly universal school-time task or you harbour nightmares stemming from imposed reading deadlines, your child is likely to encounter the assignment at some point or another. So whether you love it or not, figuring out how to assist your child with their own book reports and ensuring they get the most out of this essential learning experience is important.




Now I realise that not every child loves to read, nor does every adult; however, reading and understanding well the words before us is a critical skill that must be learned, nurtured and cultivated and, I believe, a book report is a good start. To make the process more enjoyable, here are a few tips:




1. Let your child choose their own book. Of course, it’s up to you as the parent to make sure the book is appropriate and at a level that is both readable and challenging for your child. However, I do not recommend forcing your own personal favourites on your youngster. Let them have some say in what they read and I can almost guarantee a more enjoyable reading experience.




2. Check in with them to make sure they’re reading regularly. Children can get sidetracked with homework, play time, and after-school activities so it’s up to mums and dads to make sure they’re picking up their book at least 4-5 times a week. In my home, reading is always encouraged as a pre-bed ritual. It helps my children to relax before falling asleep, and it gives them a sense of control to know they will not be forced to read at any other time, allowing them to plan their other activities accordingly.




3. It’s a good idea to set weekly and nightly reading goals based on the length of the book. Figure out the length of time you have to complete the book, look at how many pages there are and then determine how many pages your child needs to read at each session.  Tell your child what their goals are and let them take it from there. This will teach them responsibility and how to manage their own time.




4. Talk to them about once a week regarding what’s happening in the book. Let them give you a summary of the characters, the setting, and what’s going on in terms of plot. This is also a good time to question how they feel about what the characters are going through and to even ask them how they think the book might end. This is a great way to encourage children to be  engaged readers and to make sure they’re not just sailing through the book as a way to quickly get to the end.




5. If you can, I suggest reading the book yourself. Obviously this is optional but it will help when the time comes to do the book report. However, there is something to be said for letting the child figure out the plot points all on their own, and if this is more your style of parenting then I give you my full blessing. In fact, I encourage this type of guidance for older children, usually those that are aged 10 and above.




6. Last but not least, make reading fun. Read your own book alongside your child and let them know how much you’re enjoying it. Tell them about what you’re reading and ask them to share, as well. If nothing else it’ll make for great bonding time and, Insha Allah, the beginnings of a wonderful shared love of books!




Zanib Mian of Sweet Apple Publishers recounts to Azra Momin her page-turning life in the world of indie publishing.

Reading for Body, Mind and Soul

Welcome to Reading Corner! Carissa D. Lamkahouan discusses the benefits and oh-so-satisfying results you can achieve by snuggling down with a good book!



Carissa D. Lamkahouan is a writer, journalist, editor and blogger with more than 17 years of experience. She enjoys exercising, reading, spending time with her family and traveling to Morocco, the homeland of her husband. She has been a Muslim since 2005 and lives in Houston, Texas.