Friday, April 30, 2010

How to Spread the Reading Disease.

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Reading is one of my favorite past times.  I read even when I don't want to read.  If there is print in front of me, I have read it before I even have time to think.  Therefore, my family knows not to leave things around that I should not read (Christmas gift receipts, for instance), as my brain will process that information before I can tell it to stop.  I read for information, I read for enjoyment, I can't even comprehend not liking reading.  So what did I do when my fourth born child first struggled to read and then, once he became proficient, declared he hated reading?

Well, I'm glad you asked, as this week's Blog Cruise question is, "What do I do if my child doesn't like to read?".  I've experienced this and am seeing that turn around currently.  There is no magic cure all, but there are a few things that seem to be working at our house.

We all have regularly scheduled reading times but I usually allow him to choose his own reading material.  Yes, even if it's twaddle (Gasp).  He has read graphic novels, Star Trek books, and even gaming manuals.  My goal in this is for him to find enjoyment through the skill of reading and not just view it as "school". 

I read aloud.  A lot.  Actually, I read aloud to all of my children, as we almost always have a read aloud going.  We started off the year with curriculum prescribed read alouds and found ourselves dragging our way through The Golden Goblet.  So I decided to mix it up a bit and headed to my favorite haunt- Borders.  The Children's section showcased some of the currently popular books.  We thought we'd give them a try and I read aloud the first book in the Percy Jackson series and the first book in the Harry Potter series (We had never read Harry Potter and I wanted to see for myself if all the hullabaloo was justified.).   

Reading the first book in a series has been an excellent way to spark interest in reading for enjoyment.  This same reading reluctant son begged for an afternoon of reading this past Wednesday, as he had his nose buried in the second book of the Percy Jackson series.  I pretended to be put out about setting aside my plans for the afternoon in order to read, but truthfully, I was cheering inside.  The boy who hates to read did not want to put down the book.  Success.

When we don't have a read aloud in the works, we will listen to a book on CD.  On the agenda for our summer reading, is the Radio Theater version of C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters.  Just a little light summer fare.  (GRIN).

Having seen the turn around in my thirteen year old son, I would encourage anyone struggling with a child who hates reading to try one or more of these ideas.  Read for enjoyment yourself, creating a home of readers.  Allow him to choose his own reading materials, even if it's a lower level.  He may need to build his confidence and proficiency in order to find enjoyment in the process.  Read aloud, and choose books full of adventure and excitement.  Try reading the first in a series (make sure it is at his reading level) and then pick up the second book, make it available, and see if he takes the bait.  Listen to great audio versions that help train his imagination. 

And have patience.  It may take some time to create a reader out of a non-reader.  But the beauty of homeschooling is the opportunity for your child to grow and learn in his own timing, at his own pace.  Don't rush the process, just enjoy the stories.  It's contagious. 

3 comments:

Debra said...

Lori -- oh, I love it. We do think along the same lines. You know, like allowing twaddle.

I love hearing other people confess to that too. :)

Laura O said...

Lori ~ we've done all the Harry Potter books here. I didn't find too much objectionable in it as the boys aren't trying to 'do magic', etc. Instead, they take it as fantasy. Even though we did books 2 - 7 as audios, the boys have been reading through the actual books as well. Eldest son loved Percy Jackson, too.

As much as they love fantasy type novels, they have also enjoyed other genre after being coaxed into it. Eldest son used to balk at 'historical fiction', but has since found the value in that genre as well. He did loads of that reading for co-op last year and usually loved the material.

And, I'm with Debra in thinking a little twaddle is NOT a bad thing!

Annie Kate said...

Starting the first book in a series is a great idea!

It's wonderful that your son now enjoys reading. You must be so thrilled.

Annie Kate

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