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Book Reports and Your ADHD Child

Posted Mar 30 2010 12:00am

My ADHD son is now in middle school. I was more worried about his starting the sixth grade than he was. I knew what was in his future...lockers, gym class, harder assignments and... BOOK REPORTS!

To say my son is a reluctant reader would be the understatement of the decade. How would he ever read (an entire book) and then report on what he read?! He generally loses interest in a book after just a couple of pages. I decided to cross that bridge when we came to it and not dwell on the inevitable.

Well, that bridge (and the inevitable) came the second semester of this school year. His English teacher announced that the class would be required to read any biographical book in the school library and write a book report on what they'd read. She assured me, and a few other concerned parents, that she would make it a positive experience. I had my doubts.

My son chose the biography of R.L. Stine, the author of the Goosbumps book series. Interesting, I thought. The book was around the same length of most books in the series, 136 pages. That, however, seemed insurmountable to my son.

I'm happy to report that he finished the report on time and even got a B+ on the assignment. How did it do it? With a little help from me and a lot of creativity from his teacher, it was easy.

Tips for book report success:

  • Allow the student a lengthy amount of time to "read" the book. My son's teacher allowed them six weeks to read a little over 100 pages... this amounted to a little over 3 pages a day!

  • Allow the student to listen to the book on CD while following along in the book. This appeals to both visual and auditory learners.

  • Allow the student to type the report. The thought of hand writing a book report will overwhelm many students. Tell them they can type it on a computer and the stress will be instantly lessened.

  • Allow the students to work in teams. Students will feed off of each other.

  • Allow the students to give oral, rather than written, book report presentations.

These are just a few things that my son's teacher did to ensure her class' success. You can find additional tips on the ADDitude Magazine website. When your child's teacher mentions those two dreaded report...there's no need to cringe!

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