I used to think, for the longest time, that The Boy hated to read. Oh, he loves books, don’t get me wrong. I always make books available to him. We spend plenty of money at the school book fair, and he checks plenty of books out from the library… he just never sits down to read them. When he was younger he always loved to be read to, and there are a couple of series that he will devour the second he gets his hands on one of the books (Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid). He has some medical issues that force him to sit still for a little bit each day, and he sometimes reads then. Other than that, though… he just rarely shows an interest. This has been devastating to me, of course. As a Reader, I expected my child would be a Reader, and that we would Read together for great lengths of time, cuddling on the sofa and bonding over books. Uh, yeah. Not so much. Until. Until! My Discovery.
First, let me give you a little insight into The Boy’s personality. He is go, go, go from the moment his eyes open in the morning until he finally falls asleep at night.. He likes constant stimulation – he always has to be doing something or he goes crazy. He never stops talking. Never. Stops. Talking. I thank God when he’s got friends over here to provide some distraction. I’ve tried to train him to watch TV
while staring blankly & drooling quietly, but he Won’t. Stop. Talking. He does play some video games, but even then, he wants me to watch the entire time, while he discusses every move he makes. So. Constant stimulation. Got it? OK.
About two months ago, I got very sick of (and guilty about) all of this reading that was not going on. After all, research tells us that students who read just twenty minutes a day perform better in school. I immediately set aside a thirty-minute chunk of time just before bedtime for us to read together. Separately, but together – each with our own book. I creatively named this time, “Reading Time”. To make things more appealing to The Boy, I bought him a new book to read on the Kindle app on his tablet. A new book and the novelty of reading on an electronic device like Mom – what’s not to love, right?
Yeah, right. Oh, there was whining. And moaning. And groaning. “Other moms don’t make their kids do this,” he whined. Yes! He even pulled that one out, can you believe it? Not much reading got done at first. But after a couple of days, there wasn’t so much whining. He settled down and started reading. He kept a close eye on the timer, mind you, but at least he read. And as time passed, and he moved on to other books, he stopped checking the timer so much. Until one day, when I told him our thirty minutes were up, he said: “Just five more minutes, Mom, please?” Oh! The angels sang and lights shone down from the heavens when I heard those words! Yes! We often read for up to an hour now – sometimes even longer!
See, all along The Boy enjoyed reading. He just didn’t want to slow down enough to enjoy it. Someone else needed to make that happen for him (moi). Once I put Reading Time into effect, all of the other pieces fell into place. I am fairly specific about the books I pick out for him, and I’ll share more about that in a later post. But the point is, “if you build it, they will come”. If your child is high-energy and also a reluctant reader, perhaps this is something that might help everyone get back into that reading mood.
Does your child enjoy reading? Or does he/she resist taking the time to do so?