Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A bit of Musing on How to Get My Son to Read a Novel

Reading is one of my passions, and we are always surrounded by piles of books in our home, the kids see me reading all the time, and we make weekly trips to the public library to bring home even more books.

I think reading is one of the most important things we can do, and I'm very dismayed by the recent data that shows it on the decline with children.    In my ideal world all children would be soaked in reading, the outdoors, joyful physical movement, and imaginative play.

But this has not resulted in passionate little readers in my own household.  Both of my kids have struggled with the mechanics of reading, so I didn't get to enjoy the pleasure of seeing my tiny 6 year old reading Harry Potter to herself.  Instead, I have sat by their side as they struggle, sometimes even crying, to read Splat the Cat.  

My eight-year old is still in this stage of struggling, but my eleven-year old has had the full break through and really can read independently now.  I've responded to that by putting "Independent Reading Time" into his homeschool schedule.  He fills that time with his own passions - non-fiction books about science, technology, and history.  That's wonderful, but I worry that he isn't reading literature.

Not that the kids aren't soaked in fiction - but it's all on audiobook, or we read it out loud together.  And I love that - because I get to enjoy all these books too and because then we have a shared story line as a family that we can all use as a springboard for conversation, further learning, and imaginative play together.


But it still bothers me that my kids aren't "Readers". I'm thinking about giving him a Book List that he has to choose from for at least part of that Independent Reading Time on the schedule.  Or maybe I need to put Literature into his schedule as its own time block.  The summer is probably a great time to experiment with this, as our schedule will have to be changed week-to-week based on which child is in a summer camp and what the camp schedule is.  So maybe it will be a Summer Reading List!

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