ParentDish Feature: What are your kids reading?

Filed under: Tweens, Teens, Media, That's Entertainment

what are your kids reading(June 13, 2007) This summer, we have been trying to have the kids turn off the TV every morning and read. I say the word "trying" because we have been met with some resistance. My youngest son is trying to tell me that summer is for playing outside, not reading. "That's funny," I told him, "because you were just inside, watching television."

We made deals with the kids before summer even began: We want you guys to read at least one book a month, preferably two. There are lots of things that we let them do in the summer, things that cost extra money. However, we also want them to take advantage of the long stretches of time in the summer to read.

Initially, we wanted to give them some book options to choose from. Rather than reading the same Bart Simpson comics over and over, we would like them to read some actual books. This is not an issue for the oldest child (13.5), whose room is so scattered with books it's hard to walk through it. He is reading The Fellowship of the Ring right now, and just finished The Hobbit. But it's harder for the younger two, who are more resistant at the page numbers present in a novel. My middle child (10) has read the first Harry Potter book and loved it, but he doesn't want to read the second. He has read The Hobbit, and loved it, but he doesn't want to read. He wants to watch television or play on the computer. I think that is the main issue here.

My youngest child (9) is simply not a reader. He has a way with simile and metaphor when he writes and speaks that astonishes me: It can't be taught. I cannot believe he is so resistant to reading. So, I try to read carefully: "This is reading time. You can choose what you are reading[even the Bart Simpson comic books], but this is reading time." And as I am saying the words, he will open the door and go outside. So, then, I have to go and get him, bring him inside, and start again. I hate that: I don't want to fight with him about reading. But I'm afraid that if he never experiences the actual joys that reading brings, he will just get farther and farther away from it.

I feel like I'm being pushy. Just let the kid have his summer! Don't worry about it! But I do worry about it. Books, magazines, words-- they are very important to his father, his stepfather, and I. It's probably one of the few things we all agree on. We are all academics, have all taught students who can't write because they don't read. These college students don't know the difference, when they write papers, between the words "definitely" and "defiantly." I know first-hand from my career that writing and reading are important. They go hand-in-hand. But I don't want to push him away from reading. I wish so much that he would come to it on his own.

Do your kids like to read? If they don't, do you have any tricks to encourage them?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.