Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting your child to love reading part 3

I've been thinking about this so much, this process of getting your child to love reading. I think it is an incredibly personal thing, reading, and I think our kids pick it up because of environment more than anything. I also think it takes a key adult, hopefully a parent, to help guide a child toward the books that will spark their love of reading for life. The author of the Princess Bride, William Goldman, (yes, it's not just a movie), says that his love of reading began when he was sick in bed for a week and his father read out loud to him a ridiculously archaic and difficult novel. The words were impossible. The sentence structure beyond complicated, but there was adventure, and his father, who barely spoke to him on a regular basis, read it aloud to him. After that, he struggled through this book on his own again because he wanted to—then, he was in fifth grade mind you, he switched to Treasure Island and The Three Musketeers and Robinson Crusoe and other difficult classics because he was addicted to adventure and to the books that gave it to him.

He is not alone! So many have sited one particular book or moment when they fell in love with reading and never looked back. And frequently these books were challenging, tough books.

It's our job as parents to help our kids find that moment.

Unfortunately, this doesn't happen at school much anymore. Rarely do teachers today have the time to seek out an individual child, place a book in their hands, and say, "This is the book for you. It's been on my mind all day—I know you will love it." And many teachers today simply aren't familiar with books or with their students interests and abilities.

We are TOO focused on reading levels. William Goldman didn't have anyone telling him that the books he was reading were too hard. That's all my kids hear at their school. This book is too easy, this book too hard. YOU HAVE TO PICK A BOOK ON YOUR LEVEL. Or, you can't read that book because we don't have a test on it.

Those levels and tests should not exist at home, and if you have stopped reading aloud to your older children, start again. Sneak it in. Somehow. Some way. Don't shove books at them. Buy an incredibly great book, perhaps even with lots of pictures, for an older child, and leave it where they cannot help but see it. Smash your television and video game box with a hammer. Just kidding. Sort of. Turn off the television so they have nothing to do but read, then scatter books about the house that you think they might like.

If any of you need any help, any book suggestions, please ask me! I have to read ten to twelve novels every three to four weeks right now, and I cannot count the number of picture books I read a day.

For example, does your upper middle grade boy love monsters?
Read Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese, and if he likes it, have him read everything Catanese has written.

Product Details

Have a reluctant reader? Try Dragonsbreath by Ursula Vernon
Or the Amelia Books by Marissa Moss
Product DetailsProduct Details

Do you know about Dumpy the Dumptruck?
Product Details

Or the wonderful works of Barbara McClintock, like Dahlia and Adele and Simon?

Product DetailsProduct Details

What do you need? What book are you and your child seeking to help him find that love of reading?

1 comment:

  1. Any suggestions for a boy version of junie b jones? I need something for Andrew ( first grade). And I like series because then they automatically know what to read next.