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Encouraging reading in a non-coercive way

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking like a summer reading challenge program, but without a big reward for reading X number of books at the end. 

 

DD (10) likes to read, but when she's got spare time in the middle of the day and is doing cartwheels around the house or other random, short-lived things, sitting still and reading a book would never occur to her as a possible activity.  Occasionally I will suggest it and she might read a chapter here or there, but generally she ONLY reads before bed.  That's it (and as a result, it can take her a long time to get through books).  During the day she wants to be on the go all the time or doing something active. 

 

Being active is all well and good, but I'd also love for her to discover the joy of reading during the daylight hours.  I do NOT, however, want to in any way associate reading with an activity that HAS to be done, or is in any way some form of schoolwork. 

 

My only ideas thus far are to include a small group of friends in some way, although I don't want to do a bookclub; dd has already stated that she doesn't want to have to read a book on any kind of timeline.  I was thinking something more free-form, and that would involve perhaps a list of books for her/her friends to choose from...books outside their current range of favorite authors...

 

Any ideas???

post #2 of 16
What about audio books? I listen to audio books while I'm sewing, commuting, running errands etc. dh listens to audio books when he works alone (he's a contractor and sometimes works with other people and sometimes doesn't). Then she could Be doing something and listening to a story. Audio books and read alouds are particularly good for high interest books that might be a tad above the reading level of the reader as well.
post #3 of 16

Audio books is a great idea.  Also she might not have found the genre of choice yet.  I know that if I try to read something (or tried when I was that age) and it didn't captivate me, I would rather have done something else.  I am a voracious reader now, but even still today, if it doesn't "catch" me, I just don't even want to mess with it.

 

Perhaps a trip to the book store  - a lengthy one? - where she can really browse, read the first chapter, find stuff that really interests and catches her might be a good way to do it? 

 

She might find that once she is really into something, she wants to read more. :)

post #4 of 16

My dd and a friend (who do like to call themselves a bookclub) are trying to read one book from several different genres this summer.  We meet and share about what we read, but they aren't always reading the same thing and there is not requirement to finish by the meeting.  So, Kayla may say, "I am almost done with Bliss, and I really like it."  She will then continue to tell why she likes it.  Then, Samantha will tell about her book.  By the time they are both done, they usually each want to read what the other has read.  We are making bookmarks though with the genres listed and will stamp them off as completed.  They don't have to be done, but it is a goal.

 

Amy

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

AAK, I love that idea...did your dd and her friend come up with that on their own, or did you make a suggestion? 

 

I also think a trip to the bookstore to pick out books from different genres might help, since we don't normally buy books! 

 

Audio books are great ITA - we listen to them all the time in the car!  I should probably try to drum up an old CD player though so we can listen to them at home as well.

 

Thanks!
 

post #6 of 16

In my experience as a teacher of other kids (including very marginal readers) and with my own child, this simple formula works wonders:

 

Disable or remove or just don't use electronic entertainment other than good music, but do not associate it with punishment or with reading.

Read lots of books out loud to the kids, even if they are good readers.

Read lots of books personally.

Go to the library weekly for new books.

Stop at the bookstore and library sales, yard sales, etc. to get new books for the home.

Take turns reading out loud.

Read aloud to get kids started on a story and then leave the book sitting out for them to read more if they feel like it.

Have a ritual of reading quietly together at certain times where nothing else is going on in the house.

Talk with the kids about the stories and ask them what they think will happen next.

Praise them when they make true progress in reading, such as reading more complex material, exploring new topics, reading faster without losing comprehension, reading to others to help them, etc.

 

Truly, I have seen miraculous transformations even in kids who could barely get through a page previously and even in kids with reading issues due to eye problems that glasses won't fix. My own son would surely have been a TV junkie if I'd let him. Instead, he was a true reading addict to the point where it caused problems. But, it helped him tremendously academically in that all I had to do was bring a new book into the house, even a college textbook, and he would swoop down on it and consume it as fast as possible.

 

However, most parents are unwilling to do this. Often the moms say that the dad won't give up TV. Or, they are worried that their kids won't be normal if they don't watch TV a lot. Not watching TV much never caused my son to be socially left out or to have nothing to say. On the contrary, kids really liked playing with him because he had so much new to say versus just regurgitating what everyone else saw on TV. As a teenager, he knew which websites to go to to get the plots of favorite TV shows and join in the conversation with other teens. No one was the wiser. I had to laugh when I found that out, but he told me that he didn't want me to bring TV back into the house because his grades were five points higher in the IB program he was in by then and that was essential for his college plans. So, if you are willing to do this, your reading issues will likely dissipate. Just do not make TV going away into some punishment or associate it with more reading in any way.

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mere View Post

AAK, I love that idea...did your dd and her friend come up with that on their own, or did you make a suggestion? 

 

 

I don't remember exactly how it came up.  We were brainstorming "themes" for our summer reading.  Dd's friend said how much she love fantasy, Kayla really likes historical fiction.  Both of us moms pointed out how we try to read new stuff for our book club and then the idea evolved.  

 

We have been in this book club for a couple years now.  It used to be a mother/daughter club with 4 pairs.  Two stopped coming which is how it became just Kayla and her friend.  

 

Amy

post #8 of 16

It's funny; I used to be worried about TV but now that my DS (9) has Minecraft, it seems he's forgotten all about it. He'd play Minecraft all day if I let him, which I don't. He has a break during the middle of the day, and that is when we do lots of non-screen things. Reading homeschooling stuff, picking up his room, working in the garden...etc. One of the other things we do during break is for me to read to him. And though it seems to have taken for EVER (he was a late reader but is now a great reader), he now actually FINALLY reads fiction for fun. It just took the right book! We're reading the Warriors series and while I am still reading the actual books TO him, he actually is making his way through a Warriors reference book (Secrets of the Clans) completely on his own. Reading for pleasure! At last! (He used to only read for informational purposes.) And not only is he reading the book, but he set it as his own personal goal, to make it all the way through the book. He reads a little each day. And the other night he read TO me from it. My days of worrying about reading are over. Now I can switch to worrying about math full time. :-)

 

My point being, I didn't need to remove screens from his life. But I do agree that of all the screen activity he could have been engaged in, TV is the worst because it's so passive.

 

And my other point (to the OP) is that kids are so individual. Mine's a "right brained learner" I discovered. He is very physical, hands-on. Maybe one reason he likes me to read the book to him is because while I'm doing that, he can bounce from chair to chair in our living room, walking in circles, moving around....just constant motion. He used to use Moon Sand in a tray while I read to him. So the person who suggested audio books might be right on target for your daughter, if she likes to move around.

 

Sometimes they seem like they are going to take forever to do this or that activity that we think they "should" do, and they eventually do--in their own way on their own timetable.

 

 

Originally Posted by Governess View Post



However, most parents are unwilling to do this. Often the moms say that the dad won't give up TV. Or, they are worried that their kids won't be normal if they don't watch TV a lot. Not watching TV much never caused my son to be socially left out or to have nothing to say. On the contrary, kids really liked playing with him because he had so much new to say versus just regurgitating what everyone else saw on TV. As a teenager, he knew which websites to go to to get the plots of favorite TV shows and join in the conversation with other teens. No one was the wiser. I had to laugh when I found that out, but he told me that he didn't want me to bring TV back into the house because his grades were five points higher in the IB program he was in by then and that was essential for his college plans. So, if you are willing to do this, your reading issues will likely dissipate. Just do not make TV going away into some punishment or associate it with more reading in any way.

post #9 of 16

I know you said you don't want to do a book club, but I would recommend a book club.  Sorry.  If her reading it on a timeline is too much, read some of it aloud to her, so she can get through it in time.  There is something about the experience of reading the same book as friends and talking about it that has motivated my reluctant reader to push through her challenges with reading (it is clearly harder for her than it is for her sister).  And if you don't finish, well, that's pretty normal for a book club, isn't it?  You could organize activities loosely related to the book, instead of doing analysis of the story, and that would take the pressure off for everyone to finish.

 

I doubt it's much comfort to you, but I would gladly trade my kid's read-all-day-long habit with your dd's only-read-at-night habit.  If it's just a question of not getting as many books in as you wish she would, I'd add in audiobooks so she can listen to stories while being active.

post #10 of 16

Maybe if she is that active during the day she has a harder time focussing on the books.  Perhaps she enjoys reading in the evening because she is relaxed enough to immerse herself.  

 

So here's an out-of-the-box suggestion: let her stay up reading for as long as she wants and let her be active during the day.

 

And let her see you kick your feet up and read in the middle of the afternoon.  Lie down in the shade, with some iced tea and a book, and let her see how lovely and languid it can feel.

post #11 of 16

I agree with this. For you, reading during the day may be a "joy" but what if it isn't for her, and never will be? That is not intended to sound mean--it's just a gentle reminder that sometimes we have interests and tastes that our kids don't share. It is HARD to realize that but it's important to, I think.

 

SweetSilver's response reminded me of something that my son once said when we were talking about his frustrating night-owl schedule. That is, it took forever to get him to the bedroom for bedtime, and when he got there he would just THEN start his creative work, like drawing. He told me that he works best late at night when everyone else is in bed because it's quiet and only then can he really concentrate on what he's doing.

 

And that made total sense to me. There are only the three of us, DH, DS and me. And DS is very attuned to us and our movements. (I realize I am the same way; I have a sort of "radar" or mental tentacles where I need to know where everybody is in the house before I can settle down and focus. Lucky it's a small house and not a problem to know this.) And our son is very very social, loving to talk to us, see what we're doing & such. And he's empathic, in tune with our feelings, and on top of that very physically active himself. All of these factors combine to make nighttime the best time for working on quiet projects like drawing or reading. I totally get it now and I don't complain about it.

 

We're so lucky to be homeschooling! This would never do if he had to get up at 7am or whatever the school families do.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Maybe if she is that active during the day she has a harder time focussing on the books.  Perhaps she enjoys reading in the evening because she is relaxed enough to immerse herself.  

 

So here's an out-of-the-box suggestion: let her stay up reading for as long as she wants and let her be active during the day.

 

And let her see you kick your feet up and read in the middle of the afternoon.  Lie down in the shade, with some iced tea and a book, and let her see how lovely and languid it can feel.

post #12 of 16

My dd has just started reading books for her own entertainment at the age of 12 years.

We are mostly tv free, dd reads well and I still read aloud to her regularly but picking up a book still just wouldn't be her top choice of activity most of the time.

I am a huge reader and always have been. I frequently read while I do other things so a chapter here and there doesn't seem so bad for daytime reading. I read while I just walk around the house even.

 

How much reading would you like to see her get through in a day? Do you want her to read so many pages or read for a certain number of minutes per day? Why does she need to enjoy reading during the day if she prefers to do it at night?

 

Maybe your dd needs to move right now more than she needs to sit still. Can she read or listen to an audio book while she moves around during the day?

 

Maybe you could institute a quiet time in your home at another time of the day where you and your kids can choose to read, write or draw instead of doing active play or using electronics. She might choose to read at that time just because the time is routinely set aside for it. Maybe she would just prefer reading a collection of short stories, poetry or magazines during the day to longer fiction books.

 

Maybe you could encourage bathroom reading.

 

We made a paper chain of all the books dd read last year. We added to it as dd finished each book. Maybe your dd would like to see her book chain grow- or enter books she has read on a site like Goodreads or LibraryThing. I don't know if there is a site like that just for kids.

post #13 of 16

How about some books on tape?? We listen to them in the car a lot and I think it has encouraged my daughter's reading....she gets sucked into the story and doesn't want it to end when we pull into the driveway.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

You all are so right...I think MY insecurities about her not reading very much are the issue here.  I just worry about all the normal things HSers worry about - you know, your kid falling behind in some arbitrary set of skills.  SIGH.  Sometimes I just can't let it go!  I feel better after reading everyone's suggestions though, because we are doing most of those things.  Dd can stay up as late as she likes, albeit in her room, and that is when reading happens.  I never thought about the fact that she might be too wound up during the day to do something like sit down and read, so that is helpful to consider. 

 

She really does like to listen to audio books (and we do this 100% of the time in the car - it keeps the peace!).  However, I need to get better about downloading audio books to her iPod so she has new materials to listen to. 

 

A neighbor suggested a free, web-based program called Reading Adventures, so dd and I looked at it yesterday.  In many ways it's quite the opposite of how I wanted to encourage reading, in that it rewards reading with points and prizes.  However, both dd and ds seemed totally motivated to read books for the prize of a chocolate bar offered by the program eyesroll.gif They have a decent list of books to choose from, and if nothing else, it might get dd reading a more varied palate of books.  We'll see.  I'm not going to push it, but I will support them in following through with it if they wish by getting them the books they choose.
 

post #15 of 16

If your insecurities are the issue (and we all have them!), you might want to check this out.  IMHO, it is one of the best writings out there about allowing people to become readers in their own time, and the benefits of doing so:

 

http://sandradodd.com/r/threereaders

post #16 of 16
I agree with the post suggesting you read to your child/children.

I read to my son for many years. He usually acted out the story while I read (something that cannot be done in a car), and we would talk about the story during or after or both. Now he writes, sometimes with my assistance ( I am responsible for certain characters while he does the rest), and he reads it back to me so we can edit.

How is she with math?
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