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Avid reader no longer wants to read...and other products of his "education"

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ds is 6.5 and attends a language immersion school. He has devoured books for many hours of his day until the last few months. (he began reading at 3.5 and reads at a level about 7-8th grade). Now when he comes home from school he wants to play with his brothers (which is great, I used to have to make him stop reading and interact a bit or go out to play). A big reading time used to be from 7-8 before bed. He loved it. Now, since he gets zero tv time (it was limited to 1 hr per day before school during his little brother's rest time) and he doesn't spend time with us during the day we let him come watch tv for 1/2hr of that time. I feel like telling him no more tv time and iPod playing until he starts reading again. But, I also think that is the wrong approach that will likely send him in the opposite direction. Not sure what to do.
The root of my irritation with this whole reading thing is that since starting 1st grade, we have watched him slowly loose intrest in learning altogether. He used to have big interests that he pursued on his own very passionatley. Now all he cares about is gym class, recess, and trading junky collectable stuff at school. I get that he's 6. But watching him digress all year is tough. I am a homeschooler at heart. It was dh that insisted he go to school. Now I can't see any way to go back. He loves school. Next year begins the GT program so I'd like to see how that works out and we'll go from there.
What can we do at home in the meantime to counter the lack of education he is currently getting at school??
post #2 of 14

My child was an avid and advanced reader. He was reading chapter books by kinder. But by now, he is 9, he just has no interest in reading anything but magazines it seems. He still reads, just not like before where he could spend hours reading. He will still spend a fair amount of time reading, in the morning. But then he just asks for computer games. I hope it is just a phase.

post #3 of 14

I'd go talk to the public librarian. It's possible he's bored with his choices, and the librarian might be better able to offer new and different suggestions.

post #4 of 14
My DD is reading at home a lot less now than she was over the summer. She usually is playing outside, playing pretend, or goofing around with her brother after school instead. I think maybe she needs those outlets after a long day at school. But I agree that maybe your son also needs different books. Sometimes D reads less when she doesn't have a series going that she's jazzed about.

I hope the new program next year will help.
post #5 of 14

It sounds like a number of different things might be going on.

 

My oldest is an avid reader, as well (he's in 6th grade now,) but his reading goes in fits and spurts and is definitely affected by the rhythm of the school year. So, for example, he devours books over the summer and at every break from school (he read four book series just over the two-week Christmas holidays, for example), but then will go weeks, if not months, without doing pleasure reading while school is in full swing.

 

I've asked him before why this is, and his answer was that during school, he likes to focus his free time on his friends (chatting on his laptop) and on simply unwinding (listening to music on his iPod or playing computer games.) During the school year, he is also a competitive fencer, and goes to practice 4x/week, which I know is physically tiring. And although school isn't terribly challenging for him, the daily grind of the school schedule is tiring, so I think he doesn't necessarily want to expend the extra mental energy on pleasure reading (no matter how much he loves it.)

 

Another aspect to consider is that your DS might be putting forth more effort this year into building his social skills and fitting in with his peer group, whose interests clearly revolve much more around TV shows and music than around the latest book they've read, especially since your DS's reading level is so far above theirs. Watching him spending his free time immersed in popular culture instead of a pursuit you find intellectually appropriate can be frustrating, but really, it is so very normal, and, in fact, quite encouraging, as it speaks to his interest and ability to make friends and become socially competent. Don't underestimate this skill set just because it doesn't seem "academic." Dealing well with others will provide your DS a huge advantage throughout his life.

 

Finally, another factor to think about might be his choice of reading material. I'm sure plenty of the other parents here can weigh in on the intrinsic difficulties that come along with choosing books for a child who is reading at a level far beyond their chronological age. Finding the sweet spot between reading material that keeps them engaged while not dealing with subject matter that is not yet appropriate is hard! Maybe if you posted what he's already read/is interested in, we can help you with some reading suggestions.

 

Other suggestions that come to mind that we do around here are the following:

1. DH and DS have a weekly chess match; it's become their "thing" and they bond over it, and I like that it's more mentally stimulating than watching football on TV (which they also do together, arguing over calls and strategy, lol.) The point I'm making here is that it's a time where DS is engaging with one of his parents, doing something they both enjoy, AND it requires some mental energy at the same time. Win-win.

 

2. I read aloud to DS, often books that are more challenging (although not beyond his ability to read himself) AND that have more advanced subject matter, as well. BUT...I'm reading them aloud to him, so we stop and discuss the issues that arise, rather than having him read them on his own, without any additional input. This is also a win-win, because it doesn't require as much energy for him to listen to a book, so we do this during the school year, we're getting to spend time together, AND he is still challenged and engaged in reading. We do this a few times a week, as time and energy permit.

 

3. Family game nights: okay, so these are not always super intellectual (especially when forced to play Pretty Pretty Princess with his 6 yo sister, lol), but we usually first play a game with the littles on their level, and then after they go to bed, we play Scrabble or Settlers of Catan or Risk or the like, which is much more fun. Sometimes we do logic puzzles and brainteasers as a family, just because. We'll do them at the dinner table or while I'm prepping.

 

I think the common thread behind all my suggestions is that they're aimed at fun first, with learning as a side benefit. All of them strengthen our family bond, and are fun ways to spend free time, which is why they work!

 

Kind regards,

Guin

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
U

 


Wow, I knew I'd get a knew perspecive but voicing my concern here. You have all been so helpful.
We will talk to our librarían. We go to the library weekly and she has become a dear friend. I should have thought of that
I got ds his own library card and showed him how to look up and reserve books from the library website. However, I am not searching with him. I thunk he needs some help searching for good reads for him.
Ds also gets real fired up when he's into a series. He hasn't found a series that intrests him lately. It IS difficult to find appropriate reading at his level.
And most of all, I think I news to lighten up and see the value in his other new "intrests".
We do the Isaak Asimov super quiz at dinner and the kids play games like yhatzee that involve some thinking. And ds' favorite tv show to watch is "are you smarter than a 5th grader?". I suppose there are dumber things to watch!

I'm going to relax and let him be.

He loves mystery stuff. He gets turned off if the book is too thick. He likes a good Hardy Boys style mystery.

Any suggestions?
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoebe View Post

Ds is 6.5 and attends a language immersion school. ...
The root of my irritation with this whole reading thing is that since starting 1st grade, we have watched him slowly loose intrest in learning altogether. He used to have big interests that he pursued on his own very passionatley. Now all he cares about is gym class, recess, and trading junky collectable stuff at school


Isn't he learning a second language? How's that going?

 

I have 2 kids. One is *just* gifted and the other is both gifted and on the autism spectrum. Your son sounds a lot like my *just* gifted kid. My 2E DD spends many hours each day reading even though she goes to school. She doesn't really interact with others. Learning social skills IS learning.

post #8 of 14

I think you are being a little hard on the school and your son to be honest. The kid is in school for 6 to 7 hours a day. If he's in immersion, his brain has been extra focused on amassing new vocabulary (my youngest is in immersion too.) It's also tiring to be your best behaved and work with 20 other kids for that time. Should you really expect that he'll come home and want to read for more hours and do more schooling type activities with you? I don't think that is a fair expectation. The fact that he loves school and isn't clamouring to you to work with him at home means he is getting something fulfilling from school.

post #9 of 14

Do you have a 'reading time' built into your daily routine?

 

Our kids are required to do a lot of reading during the day during school, and are required to read 30-40 minutes a night and log it in a reading log. So, part of our bedtime routine since ds was in 1st grade was to have a reading time. Our bedtime routine is: Snack, independent reading, brush teeth, mom/dad read out loud (we do each child separately because they no longer like to read the same stories), bedtime. Our children both read for anywhere from 10-50 minutes in bed after that. They're allowed to read as long as they want, though I might remind them to stop if it's getting really late. Altogether, they probably each get 50-70 minutes of reading a night - most of it independent, but 10 minutes or so with us.

 

This routine has a number of benefits. It provides a time where the kids "have to" read (they both enjoy it, so it's not a chore), it provides a way for them to share what they're reading with us (I've been known to pick up and finish books they're reading after they're done). It also helps them unwind before bed because it's a quiet activity.

 

I've got two kids who show different reading habits.Ds is excellent reader and reads ~ 3 grade levels above his current grade level. However, he does not ever sit down and pick up a book to read. Dd, on the other hand often sits down with a book and just reads. She's reading ~ 3 grade levels above her grade, and is rapidly improving both in comprehension and speed. I suspect she'll eventually be a stronger reader than ds, but I really can't complain that ds isn't strong enough.

 

A lot of the difference is personality. Ds is more active and more interested in sports. He spends a lot of time reading the ESPN website. He's been active since he was little. He didn't like to sit still for books as a toddler, and only after about age 2 would he sit still for stories. He's also an introvert with weaker social skills and I think school takes more out of him than it does dd. Dd is an extrovert, and has loved books since infancy. She will often sit still and write/read/do things in her imagination. But even she will go days with only doing her required reading. I'm OK with that.

 

As long as your son is progressing in reading and spending some time a day reading, I wouldn't worry.

post #10 of 14

Just a side note--2 mysteries on a 7-8th grade level without excessive violence:  Camp X and Detectives in Togas.  I think both would require your participation for comprehension (although maybe not, if his comprehension is also 7-8th grade level).  Camp X is straight mystery, set during WWII but with minimal historical details (and those could be fun to research together).  Detectives in Togas takes place in Pompeii, and was written quite a while ago, so it has some antiquated language and conventions that may need explaining.  It also has cool historical details that could become  a little project.

HTH  smile.gif

 

post #11 of 14

Maybe you should look for some fun, easier reading for him to do in the evenings. Has he read books like Big Nate, Captain Underpants, Geronimo Stilton, Diary of Wimpy Kid, etc? My 6 yo loves all of those and I often see my 10 yo reading them too. I've also seen graphic novels of the Hardy Boys, he might like those too. 

post #12 of 14

If your concern is that he is losing his interest in learning, maybe there is non-book learning that you can do at home. For example, we have instituted "Mad Science Mondays" at our house where we do a small science exploration on Monday afternoons - usually a little kitchen chemistry.

 

My 7-year old isn't often interested in reading non-fiction.  But, we subscribe to a few magazines that he devours when they arrive. Ranger Rick and Owl are particularly popular.

 

My DS goes through phases with reading.  If he hooks into a series, he is golden until he finishes it, and then it takes us weeks of frustration before we find him a new series that fits his needs.  He goes back and rereads his Pokemon comics, Captain Underpants and Calvin and Hobbes until we find a good new series.

 

And, now that he understands the world a little more, things he used not to be sensitive about bother him. So, he is going for lighter reading material because violence and emotionally strong scenarios are too much for him to take now, even though he loved the entire Harry Potter series a year ago.

post #13 of 14

My first though is probably clouded by my experiences in the matter. It's possible that he's stopped reading because, like a PP mentioned, the only things being offered are too easy. I know that when Baby mama was in early elementary school they determined her reading skills below average because she had trouble reading out loud so the school wouldn't let her read anything particularly difficult. She was given the option of 10 or 15 page beginner books or early reader chapter books. They didn't even consider the possibility that she was far more advanced than they thought she should be, and wouldn't even let her choose Babysitter Club books even after she read the entirety of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy at age 7. Some schools or teachers have a rule that students can't choose books that are above or below the reading level they perceive the student to be at. 

 

Or it could just be that right now he feels he's read every book he's interested in and doesn't know what to do about it.

post #14 of 14

I'll be the contrarian here.  This is why we removed ds1 from public school last month.  All he did there was learn dirty rhymes and talk about toys he wanted.  I in no way saw this as a positive type of socialization.  It has been much better since he is at home - he is helping around the house and playing for longer periods of time without needing help or external stimulation.

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