How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager?
Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading?
At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?
Answering the last question first: NEVER, probably. I honestly can’t wrap my head around the idea that any child who grows up around me would not love reading, but that’s probably because I really haven’t had to deal with it – I’ve been lucky that way.
My son, now in his mid-20s, learned to read before he started kindergarten, but I began reading simple picture books to him when he was barely a year old, just to get him used to it. I read to him at bedtime nearly every night, and by the time he was in preschool, he would go through the books with me. We phased out reading aloud together by the time he was in second grade, because by then he preferred reading by himself, but he continued to read – and he always saw me reading, so the example was in front of him from the beginning. Even now, he takes after his mom; he’s always up for a trip to the bookstore, although he’s not likely to choose the same books that I would – his tastes run more toward fantasy, science fiction, and sports.
I wasn’t around to influence my stepchildren’s early reading development, but their parents laid a good foundation; I’m just trying to keep it going. Being part of the book-blogging community helps with that; I don’t read and review many kids’ and young-adult books, but I know people who do, and since I live with a middle-grader and a high-schooler, I look to other bloggers for books to suggest to them. Sometimes I’ll read them first, particularly if I’m considering the book for my 15-year-old stepdaughter; that was how I was able to say “You WILL read these NOW” when I handed her The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. (Fortunately, she loved them, and got her two best friends interested too.) I picked the first two Percy Jackson and the Olympians books out for my 10-year-old stepson as Christmas gifts, and he’s hooked now.
But as I said, I’ve had it pretty easy. Still, I’m not sure I would require a kid to read outside of what he or she was obligated to do for school if they really didn’t enjoy it. To me, that’s the opposite of “reading for pleasure,” and makes it seem too much like “eat your vegetables.” I’d probably be more likely to suggest books that seemed to be a good fit for the child’s interests instead of more “typical” young-reader fare – and my “suggestions” would probably involve providing the books themselves sometimes. I might have to adopt an “any reading is better than no reading” mindset that didn’t discourage things like character tie-in books (my stepson has quite a collection of books featuring Pokemon and Bakugan), hoping that eventually, occasionally, something would engage him. With that in mind, I’d always suggest reading as an activity if the child seemed at a loss for something to do, and of course, I’d still model reading for enjoyment myself.
Because I haven’t mentioned it recently and there are only 2 more weeks to vote:
Just follow the link below for details and voting – and if you HAVE voted for the session already, thank you!
BOOKKEEPING: The Reading Status Report
Reviews posted since last report:
American Rust, by Phillip Meyer (TLC Book Tour)
** I forgot to mention it in the review, but this will be the 20-Minute Book Club selection for my appearance as Nicole‘s guest on That’s How I Blog! (Blog Talk Radio, Tuesday, May 4 at 9 PM EDT/6 PM PDT)
Next reviews scheduled:
New to my LibraryThing “To Read” Collection:
In the Land of Believers: An Outsider’s Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church, by Gina Welch
For me, in a book-buying “Mardi Gras” binge before I give it up for Lent:
When Will There Be Good News?: A Novel, by Kate Atkinson
Blind Submission: A Novel and The Grift: A Novel, both by Debra Ginsberg
Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, by Barbara Brown Taylor
The Summer We Fell Apart: A Novel, by Robin Antalek
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, by David Grann
BOOKMARKS: Reading-related Reading
“Not Always Right,” the bookstore edition (a guest post on The Book Lady’s Blog)
For your consideration: literary gimmicks. Speaking of gimmicks – does a “where are they now?” book about the Sweet Valley High girls qualify as one? (I’m just asking – I was way too old for those books!)
Why it takes so long to get a book published (the “traditional” way, that is)
Have a great reading week!