Jeffrey Pflaum: Writer, Educator, Photographer


Motivating Teen and Preteen Readers: How Teachers and Parents Can Lead the Way


Kecia Burcham reviews the book at 

Skipping Stones Magazine Article: "Dazzling Your Mind With Reading" (Preface to "Motivating Teen and Preteen Readers")


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Book Description: 

Computer games, video games, Internet, iPods, DVDs, CDs, texting, social media, and surfing: No wonder reading has a hard time competing for adolescents' attention. Research studies find that interest in reading diminishes after the fourth grade and continues through high school. Throw in a testing culture with all its drill lessons and you still wind up with 50% of college freshman unable to comprehend the textbooks. Whatever happened to motivation? You can lead a horse to water, but…

Motivating Teen and Preteen Readers: How Teachers and Parents Can Lead the Way contains over 1,000 diverse, original, fun, creative, absurd, challenging questions on reading that will inspire adolescent reading lives from the inside out. The four books of questions contained in this volume are designed to help kids help themselves find their ways to a desire to read. Weekly questions, discussions, and raps, a one-year journey into the worlds of reading compel preteens and teens to face their demons peacefully and to re-create a passion for reading, of course, with a little guidance from their friends: teachers, parents, and this book. Check out some questions: 

— What was the first book you remember reading by yourself? What thoughts are triggered by this book? What feelings come back to you?
— Think of a word that makes you feel "good." Silently say the word over and over again to yourself. Describe what you experienced.
— Athletes say they're in-the-zone when playing at their best. Describe your reading when you're reading-in-the-zone.
— Reading everyday quietly changes your world. Explain.

— Mind-pictures: reading's little miracles. Explain


Editorial Reviews:

Wow! As a teacher with 34 years of classroom experience, including students in inner city New York City, author and teacher Jeffrey Pflaum has extensive experience to back up his brilliantly provocative treatise on reading motivation. His advice is aimed to 'jump-start the brain,' coupling the power of reading with ready comprehension. In short, readers should feel bright and involved, not turned off and stupid, when faced with a book and the black squiggles inside. Moreover, as they achieve master, both as students and in other pursuits, their lives will expand with sharper, clearer ideas along with the ability to articulate thoughts. (Esther M. Leiper-Estabrooks )

This book is designed to get children thinking, a skill that is often overlooked by the glut of phonics and skill-oriented programs that are currently being marketed. There seems to be a lack of understanding by the general public that being able to sound out works is not reading. Pflaum's book is based on the assumption that reading is about comprehension, that there needs to be an interaction between student and text for true reading to take place. (Haren Zwiebel )

I would highly recommend this book for any parent who has a child experiencing difficulty with reading or writing. (Friedman, Michelle )

This book, creative in its approach, will generate more imaginative and inventive young people, which our world is greatly in need of. In a society in which the media inundates adolescents with the latest trends to latch onto, this book challenges the youth of today to use their 'inner eye' to see beyond the typical. Rather than simple 'yes' and 'no' inquiries, the questions enable students to think as individuals and to produce novel responses. (Justina Allocca-Conte )

As we increasingly focus on student engagement as an evaluation of instructional programs and personnel, this book provides just the materials needed-those that center on the student and the student's commitment to his/her own learning progress. (Andrea Volding )

Every teacher I have worked with over the past 14 years invariably says the same thing: 'I want to motivate my students, but I can not figure out how to do so.' This book is the answer. By asking students daily questions, we as educators are empowering our students by allowing them to self-evaluate their progress. This new and refreshing book is a great way to create a class of intrinsically motivated learners. (Kaplan, Dara )

Jeffrey Pflaum understands that you can't forcefeed contemporary youth the matter of reading as spinach (it's good for you!). He elucidates what makes the reading experience unique and valuable and entertaining. (Robert Nussbaum )

This inspirational book provides a roadmap for teens and preteens to become motivated to read and, more importantly, to want to read. Educators, parents, caretakers, and students unite and learn to become reflective readers through self-discovery and self-efficiency by way of organic inquiry, strategies, mini lessons, and teaching tips, created by an expert educator with decades of successful teaching experiences. (Deborah A. Wooten )

Ever wished you could MAKE your students read books? The best thing we, the educators, CAN do is to ignite their self-motivation, to inspire them to immerse themselves in reading books on their own. Author Jeffrey Pflaum, who retired recently after teaching for 34 years in New York City schools, shares the essence of his language arts teaching experiences and skills in his Motivating Teens and Preteen Readers. He gives us all the necessary tools and action plans we need to work with a diverse student body. In this outstanding teaching resource, Pflaum has left no stones unturned. He poses over a thousand and one questions to help educators jumpstart students' brains with mindful, creative questions that would make readers of all kinds—struggling, reluctant, outstanding or not—jump from their seats and say, 'Wow! I never thought reading could do that!' Try his flexible approach and you can be sure that you would create a genuine passion for reading in your students. The book is organized in four parts, the Part 4 being for more challenging, provocative and advanced questions. A number of these questions relate to the two-way reading and writing relationship. These 'four books of questions' that employ 'questioning-and-inquiry technique' come with complete 'how-to' instructions that will help you enable adolescent readers to search for and discover a meaning in reading. They will empower the juvenile readers to take responsibility and pleasure in their reading experiences. The deep questions posed in the book will energize the students to take up reading books as they realize books are their honest and loyal friends, life-long companions. I especially loved the Epilogue with its hundreds of prompts for brainstorming sessions with your students in the areas of reading, reading life, creativity, imagination, and writing. They wrap up in a fun, spirited way, a year's worth of questions, responding and discussion. I highly recommend Motivating Teen and Preteen Readers for all educators (and par (Arun N. Toké ) 

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