By Cheri Fuller
You've been observing your child since birth. (Remember how you loved to stare at your newborn and your heart was bursting with love?) You noticed if he was outgoing or slow to warm up to new people and situations. You know if she's an active, driving kid who struggles to sit down and listen for long periods and learns better on her feet. You see what she's good at. As she grows, you know how to read her signals and what fascinates her.
You can harness this knowledge to help your child become motivated even in difficult tasks as Valerie, a mom I know did. When her son Brian eight years old, he still hadn't learned to read. He had a condition called Williams Syndrome which produced mild to moderate retardation, heart problems, and a talkative personality. After working with him for several years with every book and curriculum they had, his special ed teachers said he just wasn't going to learn to read. But his mom Valerie decided to combine one of the strengths of the disorder, a love of language, with her son's big fascination - car washes - in order to teach him to read. She had high hopes for her son that weren't squelched by this bump in the road.
She read him car wash magazines they got from local owners of car wash businesses. One night Brian said, "Mom, I'm going to read this magazine by myself someday!" So she made flash cards with car wash words. They strung those words together to make the first sentence he ever read. Then those became little books. Before long he was on his way to becoming a good reader and at age 14 read at a 7th grade level, excels on computers, has spoken to thousands of car wash owners at national conventions, and wants to own a car wash business when he grows up.
This is one of the best kept secrets of motivating children or teens: build on their center of learning excitement. What fascinates your child? What does he LOVE to learn or find out about? Whatever that is, connect learning (whether that's learning to read, or math, or another subject) with it, and you'll be amazed at the results.
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