I had to write to you with this story after reading your column about reading. At the start of third grade, my son's teacher sent home a note with her concerns because he only read at a first-grade level.

My husband and I decided to reward him with original Star Wars figures from eBay if he improved his reading. This caused our son to spend hours poring over the eBay Web site trying to decide what he would get. The sneaky catch was he didn't realize that to find out about the items up for bid he had to read pages and pages of written material.

Four months later, the teacher called me in for a conference. She wanted to ask me what I had done with my son. The teacher had tested his reading again because she had noticed he was reading faster. My son had improved to the sixth-grade level. The teacher even tested him again to be sure. It was so. The only difference was the reading on eBay. Maybe other parents can benefit from our solution to a reading problem. Our son is now in the seventh grade and doing all A and B work. - Very Pleased Parent


What a great story! If other parents can seize upon a passion that a child has, they might find their children reading a lot more and thus improving their reading to satisfy that passion. Of course, how much better a child will read does depend on what has caused a reading problem in the first place. Nevertheless, almost every child who spends hours trying to read material will improve his or her reading.