S/O Why do parents regulate what their kids take out of the library? Do you? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The coat thread made me think of this. Every time I've been at the library in the last 2 months, I've overheard parents arguing with their children about which books the kids could check out. It wasn't about the number of books (which I could understand), but the level of the book. "Those books are too easy for you. I don't want you to check them out." "Those books are like candy for you. I want you to choose something better." Really? 

 

Why would parents want to restrict what their kids are reading? I read a lot of books that aren't at my reading level. Reading at my reading level is work . The 76 pages in "Linguistic complexity: Locality of syntactic dependency" took me 6-8 hours to get through. If I'm reading for pleasure, I don't need that. I'd much prefer Amelia Peabody.

 

Is it different for kids? My son spent all of 3rd grade reading the Boxcar children books. These books were 2 grade levels below his reading level and roughly the same plot in all 120 of them. By the end, he was going through them incredibly quickly. I did try to expand his repertoire a bit (mostly unsuccessfully), but I never said he couldn't check the books out. Ditto for dd now. She's reading a high level, but sometimes likes to read books that are far too easy. Yes, she reads the Rainbow Magic books in 15 minutes. She must be getting something out of them.

 

Am I wrong about this?


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#2 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 05:30 PM
 
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I would never limit my child's reading as long as the books were age appropriate (as in won't give them nightmares). I read way above my age level as a child so I skipped reading a lot of the classics. When I was in middle school, I decided to go back and read some of the books I'd skipped because friends of mine had all read them and I hadn't. Any reading is good reading to me. I still love to read (and reread) some children's books.


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#3 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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I would limit what she took out.  But, only because I have trouble locating the books later on... even with the receipt they send home.  I'd spend three days looking for a book, not find it, take back what I could find, find it eventually, and end up owing $40 in late fees.

 

And, usually, I lost the receipt, so I never knew what book was missing anyway.

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#4 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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I have before, but not for those reasons. Usually it's because I know it's a junk book with an offensive message (racism, anti-bf, etc.) the same as I would censor what my kids watch on tv.

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#5 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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I have one kid that was a very gifted reader very early, (think 5 years old and reading adult level books). The only things I ever pulled off her stack were erotica. Apparently, some of them have pretty covers. Once my kids were ten or so, I let them read whatever they wished.

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#6 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 05:48 PM
 
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My son is too young yet to really pick out books (nearly 2.5 y/o) but I figured your post would be the opposite: parents restricting children from checking out books that are too mature. I don't think I'd sweat a child reading "too easy" books. I've read the Harry Potter series several times and it's definitely easy reading for me. Shouldn't pleasure reading be just that: the person reading a book that they enjoy? Although I could understand a parent telling a child not use a book for a book report because it is too easy.

 

My own parents didn't restrict what I read although my reading went to the mature side. I remember my dad raising his eyebrows at a book titled something along the lines of "Sins of the Father" when I was rather young. It was a book from my aunt (she reads a lot and passed her books on once she was done - she gives them to the Senior Center these days since she reads large print books now) and about a family that was in the Witness Protection Program due to the dad's involvement in a criminal element.


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#7 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

I have one kid that was a very gifted reader very early, (think 5 years old and reading adult level books). The only things I ever pulled off her stack were erotica. Apparently, some of them have pretty covers. Once my kids were ten or so, I let them read whatever they wished.



I can get erotica at the library???

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#8 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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I can get erotica at the library???

Heck, yeah. I've sampled some of it myself.
 

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#9 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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There are a few reasons I have. We have limited reading time during some months and I need the kids to focus on the required reading to prevent them from getting behind (homeschooled). I've told even the older kids they can't read Harry Potter....while I personally don't mind it they have repeatedly read similar subject matter and ended up with nightmares. Even though they are old enough they dont seem to have the ability to make choices regarding what will scare them later.

Hmmmmmm I've occasionally made book decisions for them when I'm sick and tired of keeping track of their books and paying late fees.

Other than the above I have a number for each child of books they need to read per subject, I require a specific number of non-fiction but then they are allowed a set number that are whatever they want......with the above exceptions when they apply.
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#10 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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Like others, I've only pulled books that I was afraid would cause nightmares (my son is 6, and scares very easily). My son is not reading much ahead of his grade level, so the books he is drawn to tend to have appropriate subject matter, anyway, so I can only remember ever saying no to a book maybe twice, and my son always agreed when I explained why.

 

I think what you've witnessed, though, fits in with the current general trend of parents encouraging young children to only read 'serious' (usually chapter) books and forgo picture books. It's too bad, really. :(

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#11 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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Why does it have to be a right vs. wrong thing?  Families are different.  Maybe they are working with their kids on reading skills/comprehension.  Maybe the kids have checked out those types of books in the past and never ended up reading them because they were too simple.  Maybe they have those books or similar ones at home. 

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#12 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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I would not limit for content. We just discussed any plot situations or messages that came up along the way. :)


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#13 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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I would have said I don't do this but then thinking about it, I have.  DDs are 5 and don't read.  When we go to the library they pick books for themselves and I pick some for them.  They're pretty indiscriminate and grab anything with a pretty cover.  If it's truly a book meant for a baby I've suggested we not get it and said that it's for really little ones, only because I'm already hauling out a huge armful of books and don't want one more on the pile that I know is just going to sit on the coffee table until we return it.  It's not that I think it's beneath them or I'm pushing them to literature, I just know they really aren't interested in it.  If they protest or point out some attribute I've missed I'll get it too, but most times they don't care.  I also screen the other way -- we get a lot of chapter books for me to read to them and they're often drawn to covers where I know the story or some element of it will scare them and say we'll save if for when they're older.

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#14 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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Well... I doubt I'd let DS take The Art of War out of the library, if only because he won't actually get anything from it right now. We don't let DD borrow porn either. But other than that, we don't really censor what is read, we only ask to know about it so conversations can take place.


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#15 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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My kids can choose whatever they want from the children's area of the library.  If they want something from the adult side of the library, I will reserve the right to regulate because they are *not* adults.  So far, it hasn't been a problem--DS sometimes wants science related books from the adult side of the library (not like heavy quantum physics stuff, but sometimes he'll check out college text books on space or something because he loves the pictures...not because he likes reading textbooks. :lol: ).  Anything with "adult" content (heavy swearing, violence, sex) is not brought home...as a parent of young children, I have the right to regulate that.  It might be censoring, but IMO children shouldn't really be reading that type of stuff.  But other than adult-only content, they can take out whatever they want.


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#16 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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Well, none of mine really read yet. DD1 is reading a few words here and there (she is dyslexic) so maybe here some day. I don't have an issue with it. I was an avid reader as a child and loved many series that were well below my reading level, Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley Twins, Boxcar Children, I read them though age 9 and then moved on to adult books and never looked back. I won't really censor my children's books, except maybe erotica. I checked out many of those books as a pre-teen, my mom never knew what they were. 

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#17 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 08:05 PM
 
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I do limit/control what they take out, but not the in way mentioned in the OP. I have limited space (which would increase greatly if I culled some of my paperbacks, which is one of my "when I can face it" projects) for library books here. The kids also like to take out DVDs. So, our rule for our trips to the library, which are every other week, is that each of them can take out up to three books, and two DVDs. At least one of the DVDs has to be non-fiction. The books can be whatever they want, and dd1 always (maybe not once or twice) chooses at least one non-fiction book about spiders. DS2's choices are all over the map. I also take out something to read for myself and/or ds1 (he started reading the Dresden Files books I was reading and hasn't finished them yet), and maybe one for the kids that I pick out for reading out loud. I don't like to have more than 12 or so books/DVDs out at once, so that's it. I'm not sure what I'll do about limits once dd2 starts picking stuff out!


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#18 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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I limit.

 

My oldest is a fluent reader.  But he is 7.  There are things in the library that are not appropriate, helpful, or good for him to read, including in the youth section.  There are graphic novels available that will *never* cross my doorway.  I might encourage him to look for something that's not baby-kindergarten level.  So who knows, maybe you would hear me talking with him about that.  If you did, it might be because there was a particular issue going on with him/us, rather than me being opposed to reading for pleasure.  You never know.

 

I also do my best to persuade my kids that they really, really don't want that Dora book, but if they want to win that argument, I let them. 

 

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#19 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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I "censor" DD's books, sure. She's nearly three, so I'm the one who has to read them. Usually I'll choose some books for her and let her choose some - but she usually just likes to pick ones with pretty covers, as fast as she can chuck them in the pram. So while she plays on the library rocking horse I flip through them to see if they're too wordy (she'd get bored), too easy ("This is a ball", "This is a rabbit" isn't really doing it for her any more), or otherwise likely to annoy me. Some of the books have spirituality elements that I don't jive with - "What Happened to Grandpa After He Died"-type books. If I don't believe Grandpas turn into angels or float away on the wind with dandelion petals, I don't see the need to read that to my two-year-old! I don't think she's ever noticed my discreet substitutions.

 

Recently a book slipped through my radar called something like "Misery Is a Spider In the Bathroom". Every page was "Misery Is...", but apart from being aimed at older kids (stuff about schoolwork and homework), it included such gems as "Misery is your mother telling you she's pregnant" (which I am!), "Misery is having to eat your vegetables", and so on. OK, it probably wouldn't scar DD for life, but I don't see why I should give her those sorts of ideas! So I quickly changed the text to "Oh look, she has a baby in her tummy!" and "Mm, she's having dinner", and returned it to the library. :p There are PLENTY of books out there; I don't want to waste mental energy reading ones I find offensive or vapid or obnoxious.

 

When she gets older, I'll watch her and censor things when and if I find it appropriate. If she gets easily scared, like I did as a kid, I won't let her get out books that are scary; and yes, if she shows a preference for Sweet Valley High, I might well limit or forbid them, because I think they're vapid tripe. Censorship? Yes, I suppose, but I think part of my job as a parent is to encourage her to develop good taste. There are plenty of pleasurable, light, "fluffy" books that are actually well-written and aren't all about boys, lipstick, high school drama and queen bees. (Just like there's plenty of delicious food that isn't full of HFCS and artificial blue dye...) I'm a huge reader, have an English degree and have hundreds of books around the house, and go to the library frequently. So I don't think she'll grow up deprived of books. And hey, once she's 21 if she has an unmet need to read all the Mary-Kate and Ashley books, she can go nuts... so it's hardly a permanent deprivation.

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#20 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 10:48 PM
 
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My parents never regulated what I read. And I'm a huge reader. There are some things my mom knew I was reading and now says she didn't realize what they were (think V.C. Andrews) and she probably would have discouraged me from reading them, but for the most part, she was just happy that I loved it so much.

 

My oldest struggles with reading and having confidence, so I don't really care what he brings home from the library, as long as there are words and he's interested, lol.

 

And as for the trashier stuff, I'm pretty well-read and enjoy many types of books, including sometimes the trashier bits, lol. I was a *huge* Babysitter's Club fan, and I would read one of those books along with something like Gone With the Wind. I just couldn't imagine discouraging a kid from reading stuff like that if they really enjoy it. I would probably have a problem if my 8 or 9 year old wanted to read Steven King or some porn or something. But if it's not that, then why not? Shoot, I read cereal boxes when I eat breakfast sometimes, lol.

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#21 of 124 Old 12-31-2010, 11:46 PM
 
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DSS was 8 and struggling to get over his mental block of reading a chapter book.  You know that block that says, "WOW THAT BOOK LOOKS TOO BIG!!"  So rather than choosing to read it, which he was more than capable of, he would grab little golden books and Dr. Suess.  Now, I had no trouble with him reading for pleasure, but I DID have trouble with him limiting himself to small children's books out of fear.  So yes, I did push him and require him to pick out chapter books which, once I got him to start reading them, I couldn't get him to slow down.

 

DS is 9 now.  At 5 he was reading reference books, we had a limited supply of the type of book he wanted.  So we would go to the library.  Problem was, he was obsessed with dinosaurs, he has been since before he was a year old.  He would ONLY pick reference books about dinosaurs.  So once again, when he got to be about 7 and had read these books through and refused to read anything that wasn't based on dinosaurs I DID force him to pick out a fiction book.  Once he read one, he loved the series and now he is such an avid reader that I have trouble keeping enough books around for him to read.

 

DD is 7 and isn't reading well.  She has trouble with it.  She will pick out only books with pretty pretty pictures of princesses and ponies and then demand that they be read to her.  Well, why am I going to read her a book full of facts and information about ponies if she isn't willing to at least attempt to read a book that is at her level?  So yes, I demand that she picks out at least one book for HER to read.  THEN I will allow her to pick out a book for me to read to her. 

 

 

Every family situation is different and you never know what their reasons are for making those decisions.  You may not agree with them, just as you may not agree with my reasons, but they are reasons, and well thought out reasons that I contemplated for a long time before implementing.  Now, for dss who is 13 and ds who is 9, I let them go get whatever they want.  For dd, we are still working on it.  But, once they get past whatever trouble spot they are in, I no longer feel the need to control that area.  Dss's issue lasted for about 2 months.  Ds's issue, once I decided to deal with it, lasted about 2 weeks.  DD has been having this issue for about a year now.  Each one is different.  I am actually hoping that with ds who is 4, won't have any issues and I won't have to control that issue at all.

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#22 of 124 Old 01-01-2011, 12:05 AM
 
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DS is only 2, but in the future I can see having him choose more appropriate reading material if it's for school or something like that. I also agree with censoring certain books if you know your child is not ready for those concepts yet. 


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#23 of 124 Old 01-01-2011, 12:43 AM
 
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Quote: And as for the trashier stuff, I'm pretty well-read and enjoy many types of books, including sometimes the trashier bits, lol. I was a *huge* Babysitter's Club fan, and I would read one of those books along with something like Gone With the Wind.
 

'Cause Gone with the Wind isn't trashy? winky.gif I went through a huge GWTW phase in my teens as well, but I'd hardly call it a proof that my taste had survived Sweet Valley Twins intact. It's a total sex-obsessed melodramatic soap opera, never mind the racism (I reread it recently and was all "What, Ashley was in the KKK? How did I miss that?").

 

I read plenty of "lite" books in my youth as well, and I don't think it impaired my ability to read better books; but I'm also not sure that that's the point. I watched a lot of junk TV too, and while it didn't stop me watching arty foreign films at Uni, it did mean I'd wasted a chunk of my childhood watching junk TV. The question isn't necessarily whether trashy books will doom kids to having poor taste, but whether or not it will fill their minds with harmful/sexist/materialistic/gossipy/trite/ethnocentric/lookist junk, affect their behavior, attitudes or values, become addictive, be a good use of their time, and so on. And that probably depends on the child as much as the book.

 

That probably sounds like I'm a lot stricter than I am... In general, a lot of those evils can probably be mitigated by talking about the book with the child - which is what I plan to do with Gone with the Wind!

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#24 of 124 Old 01-01-2011, 05:36 AM
 
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I kind of do what you're talking about, but I'm not forceful about it. I tell him a book is easy for him and he'll be through it in an hour, and we only check out five books at a time and go to the library once a week. So, really, I encourage him to pick longer, more challenging books, because otherwise he'll be done in no time and complaining that he needs more books. We *could* go to the library more often, but I try and limit the number of errands and trips out of the house we take to save gas and money. 

 

I don't think what I'm doing is wrong. He's smart, and I don't think he would continue to learn and develop as a reader if he's never being challenged by what he reads. 

 

I don't let him borrow comic books for the same reason, but I have also gotten flak for that. 

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#25 of 124 Old 01-01-2011, 06:47 AM
 
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Wait, people stop their kids getting too easy books?? Way to make it clear that reading is hard work that you never do just for fun. There's a reason libraries don't limit what you can get credit for in summer reading clubs--they know that reading more books results in more reading.

 

 

I've stopped my dd getting certain books, but it was when she was likely to tear books that weren't board books.

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#26 of 124 Old 01-01-2011, 06:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

I kind of do what you're talking about, but I'm not forceful about it. I tell him a book is easy for him and he'll be through it in an hour, and we only check out five books at a time and go to the library once a week. So, really, I encourage him to pick longer, more challenging books, because otherwise he'll be done in no time and complaining that he needs more books. We *could* go to the library more often, but I try and limit the number of errands and trips out of the house we take to save gas and money. 

 

I don't think what I'm doing is wrong. He's smart, and I don't think he would continue to learn and develop as a reader if he's never being challenged by what he reads. 

 

I don't let him borrow comic books for the same reason, but I have also gotten flak for that. 


But that has to do with other limitations than level/ability.

 

Mind you, if you have a regular problem, and he gets an allowance or has another way to earn money, it might be time to figure out a way for him to have the choice to get more books that he is totally responsible for.

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#27 of 124 Old 01-01-2011, 06:55 AM
 
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Sapphire, my 7 yo loves to read. Loves it. And yet he heads immediately to the easier series books that he can finish in 15 minutes. They are written to engage children. In my opinion, marketed to them much the way products are on TV. The illustrations and how they're written. I do not stop him from reading them, but I highly encourage him to pick out non series books, or to try new series. Or I'll pick out some for him. And yeah, he's in second grade reading at a 5th grade level, and reading things that were easy for him in 1st grade still. I've had the most success with reading him a chapter or two of a book, then he'll want to keep reading it on his own. He was reluctant to try out encyclopedia brown until I started reading it to him, now he goes and picks out several of them on his own. 


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#28 of 124 Old 01-01-2011, 07:12 AM
 
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I encourage my dd to go for things at her level rather than way below it (mostly discouraging leveled readers), but I don't refuse to let her get something her heart is set on, and if it is a book I know she likes returning to again and again because it is hilarious I don't say anything about it.  I think the picture books are really great, they are engaging and they cover many reading levels (some go up to 6th grade level) so I don't limit or discourage those at all.  I remember being so sad when I moved to a level where the chapter books stopped having pictures.

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#29 of 124 Old 01-01-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post




But that has to do with other limitations than level/ability.

 

Mind you, if you have a regular problem, and he gets an allowance or has another way to earn money, it might be time to figure out a way for him to have the choice to get more books that he is totally responsible for.



He has a little brother that gets simpler books, and he reads his. We also have a lot of books at home that he has free access to read whenever and however he wants. I am talking only about the five books he gets at the public library. He also gets two books a week from his school's library. 

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#30 of 124 Old 01-01-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post

DSS was 8 and struggling to get over his mental block of reading a chapter book.  You know that block that says, "WOW THAT BOOK LOOKS TOO BIG!!"  So rather than choosing to read it, which he was more than capable of, he would grab little golden books and Dr. Suess.  Now, I had no trouble with him reading for pleasure, but I DID have trouble with him limiting himself to small children's books out of fear.  So yes, I did push him and require him to pick out chapter books which, once I got him to start reading them, I couldn't get him to slow down.

 

DS is 9 now.  At 5 he was reading reference books, we had a limited supply of the type of book he wanted.  So we would go to the library.  Problem was, he was obsessed with dinosaurs, he has been since before he was a year old.  He would ONLY pick reference books about dinosaurs.  So once again, when he got to be about 7 and had read these books through and refused to read anything that wasn't based on dinosaurs I DID force him to pick out a fiction book.  Once he read one, he loved the series and now he is such an avid reader that I have trouble keeping enough books around for him to read.

 

DD is 7 and isn't reading well.  She has trouble with it.  She will pick out only books with pretty pretty pictures of princesses and ponies and then demand that they be read to her.  Well, why am I going to read her a book full of facts and information about ponies if she isn't willing to at least attempt to read a book that is at her level?  So yes, I demand that she picks out at least one book for HER to read.  THEN I will allow her to pick out a book for me to read to her. 

 

 

Every family situation is different and you never know what their reasons are for making those decisions.  You may not agree with them, just as you may not agree with my reasons, but they are reasons, and well thought out reasons that I contemplated for a long time before implementing.  Now, for dss who is 13 and ds who is 9, I let them go get whatever they want.  For dd, we are still working on it.  But, once they get past whatever trouble spot they are in, I no longer feel the need to control that area.  Dss's issue lasted for about 2 months.  Ds's issue, once I decided to deal with it, lasted about 2 weeks.  DD has been having this issue for about a year now.  Each one is different.  I am actually hoping that with ds who is 4, won't have any issues and I won't have to control that issue at all.


Eh, but in your example, you still let them get the book they wanted, they just needed to get other books too.

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