One tactic I use to try to get my children into books is giving them books that coincide with their favorite movies and/or television shows. Now I’ll be honest, these usually aren’t the most interesting or original storylines, they are often just the original script regurgitated, nothing they haven’t seen before. But again, I’ll do just about anything to get them excited about books.
Now that I’ve got a 7-year-old daughter who is a pretty good reader, I also occasionally try the tactic of having her read to her 5-year-old brother. First of all, its cute, like Facebook-post worthy cute.
(See aren’t they adorable? And yes, it was Facebook worthy a couple of years ago.)
Secondly, because I want him to witness her as a reader and want him to want the same for himself. And third, because its good practice for her.
So, I thought I was a genius and tried to combine those two tactics (book from movie and partner reading) together…nope, nada, bad idea.
Thanks to my day job, I am obsessed with Scholastic Reading Club, so I ordered a 2-in-1 book based on the movie The Secret Life of Pets. After I looked through it, I figured it was short enough that she could read it to him. (Also, in all honesty, I also realized I hadn’t bought a book for her, so I had to figure out how to prevent sibling drama.)
When I picked up my son after school, he saw the book in the front seat right away and immediately asked to see it (yay!). On our way to pick up his sister, I let him know that I thought it would be a book his sister could read to him, and he was on board (yay again!).
So when she got in the car, I told her about the book and what her role was going to be. Right away she says, “I want to read it to myself first”. Ok. I really can’t be mad at that, its good practice. At the very least, I personally like to at least look over a book before I read it to students or my own kids, so I decided to be patient. My son, not so much. At least twice on the way home I heard, “You’re supposed to be reading to me!”, and it wasn’t a super long drive.
By the time we got home, my patience was disintegrating, so when we got in the house my directions were “Both of you sit on the couch and you read to him!” (Sounds real inviting, right? Surely that would make you want read, wouldn’t it?) So they begin, and it’s cute, but not quite Facebook cute, like, I won’t even post my picture of it on here. That should’ve been my first sign…
‘Cause then I get a phone call, and I make the rookie mistake of thinking I could answer it and hold an uninterrupted conversation with an adult….and this is what the book looks like now…
So, the book has been demolished within 90 minutes of it being in their little hands. But, the two of them are having a ball doing whatever they are doing now, screeching and running around the living room.
My learnings from this? Stop being so forceful in trying to create these idyllic situations between the two kids. That picture from a few years ago? I didn’t make them go outside to read, it just happened. My tactics? Still valid and still effective…just maybe not together.