Thursday, February 11, 2010


btt button

This week's Booking Through Thursday question asks "How can you encourage a non-reading child to read?" There is a lot more to the question that is very interesting if you are facing this problem in your own home. For my short answer, that is enough.

I don't have kids, so do not have to actually contemplate such a horrible dilemma. A child who doesn't want to read? The idea that that child will turn into a non-reading adult? I shudder.

I think that I always liked to read. I can't remember any pre-reading years, so I cannot even imagine not having a book with me.

But just to make sure, my parents instituted a simple program of child bribery. Starting in first grade, they paid me a dime for every book I read. I'd give them a list at the end of the day, tell them about my favorite bits, and they would pay up.

After a while, tired up paying close to a dollar every day, they upped the stakes. They paid me a quarter for every "classic" I read. This lead me to read many books that are childhood classics -- Heidi, Treasure Island, etc. -- but that were way above my comprehension level.  I powered through them anyway, which was probably good training for college because I was never intimidated by any book I faced. Although I like to think my comprehension has improved.


Eileen Rush said...

Before I was tucked in to bed, my father would read to me some of my favorite childhood stories of all time -- the "Misty of Chincoteague" books, and "Black Beauty" -- over and over again.

Pretty soon, I didn't need him to read to me; I would turn the pages of a book on my own every night before bed. And then reading came to be something I did on the bus ride to school, and at reccess. Like you, I read well above my "level" throughout my public education.

While it may be hard to imagine a child who doesn't love reading like we did, it's important to keep in mind that not everyone learns like we do. Some people have a mind to fill in the gaps between lines of words, while others need a visual or even physical representation.

I think with practice and encouragement, everyone can learn to enjoy reading; but not everyone is going to be a crazy person who devours more than 50 books a year!

Thanks for following! I'm glad to have found such a great blog. :)

Debbie Rodgers said...

I can't remember ever having to be encouraged to read - I just can't remember a time when I just didn't "just do it". My daughter was the same.

But my husband's kids! I needed these suggestions then. I don't know why I never thought of bribery.

I'm sure your comprehension HAS improved ;-)

Rose City Reader said...

Eileen -- Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I like the idea of people who think with images and forms -- they often are the ones who can make things and do things. We don't all have to be word people, like you say.

Debbie -- I know what you mean! In my mind, it seems I went from chewing on books to reading them with nothing in between. I'm lucky that my stepkids (both grown ups) like to read, so we have something in common to talk about.

Baley Petersen said...

I have always loved books. They were magical for me. So much so that when I ran out of new books to read, I would sit down with paper and markers and write my own stories so I would have something new to read.

However, over the years, I have run into many folks who didn't like to read. And of course I made it my personal mission to get them engaged in reading. As a middle school student I encouraged my peers to seek out reading material that they would be interested in.

I have this belief that the structured required reading lists for our students often gets in the way of their enjoyment.

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