D'oh! Kids have more to do than read
My colleague Chauncey Mabe has posted his rules for turning kids into lifelong readers at our Off the Page blog. Something about some study bemoaning the lack of reading among teens, even in the age of Potter mania.
By Chauncey's measure, we've done pretty much everything right at our house. We have books and magazines and newspapers all over. We starting reading aloud to our kids from day 1. The computer and TV and video game influence has been.....somewhat controlled.
And yet, until Alec was in 4th grade, I was distraught. Avid, lifelong reader that I am, I was horrified that my kid was not into reading. I tried interesting him in everything from biographies of basketball players to the classics. Not even Harry Potter could work his magic on my otherwise bright boy. But something clicked in 4th grade. And I thank his teacher, Mrs. Breuning. Or maybe the timing was just right. Whatever, he's become something of a reader. (Although he's only made it through three Potter books.)
But reading will never be his No. 1 activity, at least not anytime soon. And that's OK by me. I know kids who read too much, to the exclusion of friends and other activities. (On road trips, my nieces were banned from reading in the car so they would be forced to look out the window and take in the world.)
Kids have a lot of choices these days. And they aren't all evil. For the record, my son watches less TV than I did as a kid, isn't on MySpace (the computer is in the kitchen, so we have a better chance of knowing), the TV in his room is only for games -- he plays sports games, nothing violent -- and it's hard to talk him into going to a movie. If anything, he's too busy getting exercise outside in the fresh air to read. (Now that's a dilemma I'd like to see the fretful Concerned Adults of America sort out.)
I firmly believe we've planted the reading seeds. And if Alec isn't driving up sales of young adult fiction (I'm quite sure there is much more being published today for kids than when I had nothing better to do than read books) I'm quite confident he will be a lifelong reader.
P.S. On another note, last week 9-year-old Erika had 7 sleepovers in 8 days. Do you think that's a little much? (She did finish one book and started another one!)
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