Wednesday, July 13, 2011

“Even Though You Love Books, I Don’t”

Today is my birthday. At 8:00 this morning, my eight year old son ambled down the stairs and handed me this homemade card.

Sweet, right? When I opened it up, this is what I saw:

For those of you having difficulty seeing beyond the purple highlights, let me make sure you know what it says:

Dear Ma,
Even though you love books, I don’t. I love you. Happy birthday!

I laughed out loud when I saw these words because while I get his point—he loves me more than he loves books—it also kind of sounds like my son is saying he doesn’t love books (which, as I established last week, is fine so long as he loves what books do for him).

All kidding aside, kids who don’t love books are not a unique breed. These are our reluctant readers and they pose a particular threat to literacy because as Mark Twain says, “The man (woman, child) who does not read, has no advantage over the one who cannot read.”

If you work with reluctant readers, here a few quick tips to help them over the hump and help them fall in love with what books can do for them:
  • Don’t expect them to read things that are too hard.
  • Let them choose what THEY want to read!
  • Talk to them about books—let them know what’s out there to read.
  • Get them interested in a series or popular author.
  • Read aloud and remind them of the pleasure of stories!
On that note, I’m going to going to get Jon Scieszka’s Knuckleheads from my bedside night table and do some reading triage with Nathan just to make sure that I interpreted his words correctly and he wasn’t really saying, “I don’t like books…”

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