Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Reading, Reluctantly

I've always been a reader, or so it seems to me. My mother tells me I was reading before I started Kindergarten, and I have no real memories of learning. It's just something I've already done. I always have a book in my bag, along with my knitting. I read prolifically, and cherish our local library for the books rather than for the free internet.

It was a bit of a surprise to find that my firstborn child was what some might call a "reluctant" reader. It is common among (though not limited to) boys of his age. He didn't find it fun to practise letter sounds, and dug his heels in when I suggested even games involved reading.

So, suppressing my growing unease, I just kept reading to him. I find books that will interest him: chemistry, spies, history, geography. Whereas his sisters will sit for an hour or more if someone reads aloud to them, Jude needs shorter chunks of time. Gradually, we've started sharing the reading, and I'm overjoyed to see his progress in sounding out harder words. 
Flat Stanley and the Cam Jansen series seem to be right at his level. I've learned to resist comparing what he's reading to what other boys his age are reading. I have yet to see him curl up with a book, reading on his own for pleasure. My parenting mantra, Faith and Patience, is being put to good use these days, and I know our house is well-equipped with cozy reading spots. One of these days, he'll find one, and will find it irresistible.

For now, it's enough to see him smile when I beam at his efforts, and to know he cherishes this rare one-on-one time with either of his parents.


  1. My newly 9 yr. old is reading Cam Jansen as well. He loves to be read to, gets lost in audio books for hours, and has a pretty impressive vocabulary--but, has just become interested in and able to read himself without real struggle. He has made such huge progress in the past month and now occasionally brings his own easy reader to bed for fun. I have been feeling like my faith and patience has finally paid off. I've no doubt yours will too.

  2. Hi Stephanie
    I can totally relate to you but it is with my firstborn daughter. She is actually a really good reader but certainly fought us at every turn to learn to read. She did not like the little reader books she took home in kindergarten and does not enjoy reading chapter books on her own. She LOVES to have us read to her and I love to read to her as well but I know she needs to become more independent. On the flip-side, she can be found reading comic books, magazines, craft instructions and reading online (emails, games, etc). I was not the same at her age... I loved novels but we are all different and as long as she can read and finds enjoyment in something, I'm happy with that.

  3. My 4.5 year old LOVES to be read to, but also seems put out when I try and get him to sound out words (even though he can often do it). Glad you have found so much patience to help him along!

  4. Everyone in my family is a reader. It helps when my mom was a children's librarian before she retired. My husband does not read. I suspect he is dyslexic, but was never diagnosed. He doesn't read to C, but will sit with her while she looks at books. I can't get her to sit still long enough to read to her, but she will pull books off of her shelf, sit on the floor in her room and look at the pictures. Right now I'm good with that. Although I would love to be able to get her to sit still to read to her.

  5. As you know, S has always been an avid reader but J took longer to really find her own reading groove. Not til about 9yo did she start to read on her own at bedtime and fight with me when I tried to turn off the light. She is picky about what she reads but when she finds it, she wo't put it down.

  6. My older boys still would rather play electronic games (limited to 45 minutes a week), play with Legos, build fires outside or do something "fun" rather than read, but it is only this year finally that my 11 year old can sometimes latch onto a good book and read it for two days straight, coming out of his bed only to eat, use the bathroom or do his chores. On such days I will frequently allow him to skip the rest of his school work. My 9 year old only reads if there is nothing better to do. My 13 year old is a speed reader who consumes books at an enviable rate.

    If reading is looked at as something delightful, and books are read aloud and discussed frequently, eventually the love of reading takes hold, I think.

  7. I took my grandson to one of the BIG bookstores and let him chose a book. He could only buy ONE but he had a difficult time deciding WHAT one. I took note of the rest for future reference(and bought back home in the local bookstore). The big bookstores have everything so beautifully on display. It really appeals to the kiddies.


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