When Reading isn't Fun



Each Thursday, I will do my best to answer your questions. I don't pretend to be an expert, but I know it's not easy being a wife and mother. It can be frustrating and discouraging, yet very rewarding. I'd be glad to listen to you, pray for you, and share some of my thoughts with you.

So, ask me something... anything...



Dear Vonnie,

I love reading, our son is a gifted reader but considers it a chore. Any ideas to promote reading as fun?

Tired of Begging




I've always loved books, too. I don't remember NOT being able to read. Books were a big part of my childhood. We owned more books than clothes.

Some of my children loved books; others had more important things to do. It's not that I treated them differently. I read to all of them when they were little. We all went to the library. I bought them new books for Christmas and birthdays. Children are all different.

Yet... books are a valuable part of our world that is being lost. In a society of DVD's and ipods and the Wii, kids (and adults) don't like to make the effort to read. It takes work to get the information off a printed page.

There are ways to promote reading.



* Limit TV and computer time. (1-2 hours on school days)

Television and computer should be a privileges enjoyed after homework and chores.

I tutor children who have trouble reading. I tell them and show them that the book is almost always better than the movie. After we read a book together, I may watch the movie with them. They will often say, "That's not like the book. They left out_____!"

Some shows like "Reading Rainbow" and "Wishbone" promote reading. It gives them a taste of the story and stirs up a curiosity for the rest of the book.



* Find out what your child likes (not what you THINK he likes)

Maybe your son is interested in antique cars. Don't say, "That's boring. Let's get a book about dinasaurs." Find books that that interest them. One of my sons didn't enjoy reading until he discovered Marguerite Henry's books about horses.

* Give them time to read.

Often we'll let our children finish the end of a TV show before supper or going to bed, but we make them put down their book immediately. This implies that movies are more important than reading. Give them a few minutes to finish the page or chapter.
Buy or make nice bookmarks and teach them to use them.

As my children got older (age 12), they still went to bed at 8:00, but they were allowed to stay up longer, if they read a book. I collected good classic books (Robinson Crusoe, Little Women, Pilgrim's Progress, etc.) at yard sales and thrift shops, and they read many before they reached high school.

* Let them meet a real author.

Watch library or bookstores for visiting authors. You will usually get a "behind the scenes" view of why they wrote the book. It was a visiting author at my school that made me realize that books were written by people and that maybe I could write one someday.


* Give your child "hands-on" experiences that will lead to reading.

Visit museums, attend plays, travel to interesting places, or any kind of "real" experience. Let them touch and learn. Then find a book that goes with it.

* Take books with you.

There are many times that we have to wait. Get in the habit of bringing books with you to the doctor's office, on long trips, etc. Instead of hand-held video games, either read to your child or have them bring one they are reading to themselves.
Be careful; some get sick while riding in a car.

* Be a good example.

Let them see you reading for enjoyment. If you only read in your room before going to bed, then they never see you reading. Children usually value what their parents value.



A child who can read has the world in his hands.

What was your favorite book?

2 comments:

Andrea said...

I have found the best example is that they see me loving to read. However, my middle child gave me a bit of a challenge as a middle schooler. He did not want to read. I began taking him every two weeks to the book store. He could choose any book he wanted as long as it wasn't a "bad" book (language, etc.). He had to read it in two weeks. He began by choosing "How TO" Skateboard books. I kept my mouth shut and let him get them. It was a only a few short months before he was choosing history and other great authors. I simply had to meet him where he was and allow him to develop the love of reading on his own.
Blessings, andrea
PS: sorry for rambling

Vonnie said...

Thanks,Andrea, that is great advice!

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