Don’t Kill Their Reading Joy

Don’t Kill Their Reading Joy

My 6 year old son is convinced he can read chapter books. If you’re familiar with my blog, then you probably know that he once proclaimed, “I’m not afraid of chapter books!”, which was wonderful…then.

Now don’t get me wrong, he’s a pretty good reader, and right now he’s still ahead of the game. But at their first trip to the school library, he picked a book to check out that was WAY above his reading level. I mean, we’re talking close to my reading level. Fine, whatever, the logical side of me knows that choice is important, yada, yada yada. However, my problem comes in when he tells me he’s reading it, and he’s clearly NOT. 

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Me banging my head against the wall.

Each day he would come home and tell me how many pages or chapters he read on the bus, and I know, I should focus on the fact that he’s choosing to read on the bus. However, when I asked him what the book was about, in my nice teacher voice mind you, the response was most often something close to, “I don’t want to tell you about that right now.”  What?! Who says that? Only my child.  And when I offered to read it at bedtime, he didn’t want to because, “he was already reading it”. It got super frustrating for me, but because I didn’t want to kill his joy, but it was grating at me that he wasn’t really reading his library book.  It was taking everything in me to not make him read it out loud to me so I could “prove” that he wasn’t reading it. Luckily, in steps my daughter…

One night while we were preparing for our bedtime reads, my son came in my daughter’s room saying that he was finished with his book and needed something to read from her shelf while he was falling asleep.  While the initial suggestion was Super Fudge, she ended up giving him a book from the Press Start series, which is much closer to his actual reading level. The kicker was as he was leaving she (with no prodding from me) says, “Yes, you can take that one, and make sure you pay attention and actually read it, ’cause I want you to tell me about the book tomorrow!” Then she whispers to me, “You know mom, he wasn’t really reading that other book.”  No reply from me, just a compliment that the book she let him read was a good choice for him. But in my mind, I was giving her a high five and doing my happy dance.

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These Branches books from Scholastic are wonderful for the transition to chapter books.

Now, let’s be clear–this was no miracle moment where he realized the error of his ways and now only reads books that he actually understands. He does better, but its definitely a work in progress. I’m was just happy that 1) they were sharing books and 2) that at least 1 child has been listening to me. 🙂

So, in your #RaisingReaders quest, remember that although it may be difficult, don’t kill the joy your child may have reading…just get their sibling to do it for you. 😉

Tell him, sister!

Tell him, sister!

This conversation went down in my house this evening during my son’s bathtime…

Son yells to sister, “What’s your favorite thing to do?”

Sister: “Reading”

Son: “No, something fun!”

Dad interjects: “Reading is fun son”

Son (now at an angry whine): “Something else, something you like to play, something you like to do when you’re NOT reading!”

Sister: “Sorry, my favorite thing to do is reading, that’s my final answer.”

Sister comes into my room, where I’ve been eavesdropping: “Mom, did you hear that?”

Me: “I sure did, let’s high five it out”

Lesson mama learned: My quest in #RaisingReaders has successfully converted the girl, but I’ve still got some work to do on my son. Luckily, I’m still up for the challenge!

 

I’m not ready!

I’m not ready!

Last weekend I decided to do some Spring Cleaning of the kids’ bookshelves. We had recently received some free books and of course I never stop buying books, so things were getting a little messy.  Now in reality, they both need new bookshelves, but that’s wasn’t an option, so downsizing it is.

My daughter is my oldest child at 8 and she loves to read. As she’s grown as a reader, so have her interests. She flies through Junie B. Jones and other chapter books now, while the Strawberry Shortcake and Berenstain Bear books haven’t moved from their spot on the shelf in quite some time.

Now the process of going through her bookshelf is pretty easy, I let her start on her own, just telling her a couple of parameters, like get rid of any board books or books that are too damaged. Then I come in and help her decide if there’s any others to let go of.  But when I walked into her bedroom, she said these words, “I should get rid of my Mo Willems books, right?”

Ok, so logically, the answer should be yes. These books by Mo Willems are wonderful, but when it comes to the reading level, she definitely has surpassed it, as well as some of the content. However, the illogical side is what actually came out of my mouth:

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She wants to get rid of Mo Willems books? My first born wants to let go of the books that I first read to her, that we first cracked up over, that she asked for night after night, and that she was first able to tag team with me and read?

As Elephant and Piggie, or even the Pigeon might say, “I’m not ready!”

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At this moment, Trixie and I were feeling the same way.

…And that’s what I told her. I said, “I’m not ready for you to give those up yet, so keep them on there.”

Back to the logical side of me, that answer made no sense. The whole point was to clear some space on the shelf, and she has ALL 3 Knuffle Bunny books, 3-4 Pigeon books (hardcover), and probably 4 different Elephant and Piggie books. This would’ve given her a lot of room on the shelf. But I couldn’t (and still can’t) detach myself from all the memories I have with her and those books, so I made her keep most of them. Most? Yes, I let her get rid of a couple of them…but she had to give them to her brother in the room next door. Mama still wins.

I want her to continue to grow as a reader, as you also should in your quest to raise readers, so that does mean making some difficult (for the adult) decisions about letting go of books, especially ones another child could enjoy.  So one day I’ll let her give them up…maybe.

(If you have any suggestions for how I can more easily detach myself from these books, I’m more than open to suggestions in the comments below. Also, if you haven’t already figured it out, if you haven’t read Mo Willems with your child, you should.)

#RaisingReaders

Stacks and more stacks…

Stacks and more stacks…

My daughter reads herself to sleep almost every night.  She usually doesn’t read just one book, and she’s rather messy, so as a result, she has a plethora of books in her bed.  Most recently, in an effort to look neater, she stacked the books up instead of spreading them all over the floor and bed. So I said to my daughter, “Man, you’ve got quite the stack of books there, I’m going to take a picture of this”

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Here’s her bed stack…

Her little brother, who happened to be standing in the room when I took the picture, went to his room and said, “I’m going to get my stack of books”, and proceeded to grab a stack of books off his shelf to take to his bed. 🙂

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I Know a Wee Piggy is one of his faves

 

Now I don’t know if he grabbed a stack just because he saw me take a picture of hers, but I do know that as I walked out of the room, he had started trying to read from said stack.

I WILL get something about this parenting thing right.

#momforthewin #RaisingReaders