My oldest son LOVES books.
He has loved reading since before he could even read his own name. He’s always enjoyed listening to stories and the moment he could read independently there was no holding him back.
Reading has always been his pathway to pleasure.
He reads constantly. He spends all of his allowance on ebooks. And, the only thing on his Christmas wish list this year other than a video game and a snowboard is gift cards to Amazon. So he can buy more books of course!
There are nights that I have to go into his room and wrestle his Kindle from his hands just so he can get some sleep. I feel like such a tool telling my kid that he has to STOP READING AND GO TO BED OR SO HELP ME.
Because honestly, I get it. I know how engrossed you can get in a story; how connected you can be to a character. I get how you can go to bed every night wishing that a sparkly vampire would stumbled into your life and sweep you off your feet.
Or like, something.
Thanks to his obsession, he finished the 25 book challenge they have in the 6th grade before the bell even rang on the first day of middle school.
That’s pretty spectacular.
But, I also have a confession to make: I have a non-reader in my house.
Okay, non-reader is probably a strong word. It’s not that he CAN’T read, he totally can, on grade level even. It’s just that he generally chooses not to. Ever. Unless he’s forced. And, by forced, I mean threatened.
He will mow the lawn, rake leaves, vacuum his bedroom, do homework, put away clothes, and hug me on the sidelines of his football game in front of the entire team and all of the cheerleaders before he will pick up a novel and sit down for an afternoon read. It’s just not his thing; it never has been.
As a former language arts teacher who has always been passionate about reading and writing, it’s hard to accept that my very own child does not enjoy the written word in the same way that I do.
He will listen to me read for hours a good 30 minutes at bedtime, but independent reading, for enjoyment has consistently been a struggle.
But, we recently discovered something he does like: Sports Illustrated Kids.
We actually ordered it last winter for #1 and every issue would get flipped through quickly and tossed on his bed side where it would sit, collecting dust, until the next one came in the mail and was added to the pile. He couldn’t put down The Hobbit long enough to see what his favorite athletes were up to.
I discovered #2 hiding in his closet with the stack on his lap one afternoon. I was so excited about his discovery that I didn’t even yell at him for sneaking into #1’s room, or digging through his things, or wearing his underwear (don’t ask, it’s creepy).
He goes to school every day now with the current issue in his backpack for their silent reading time. He reads every single edition cover to cover. And he tells me all kinds of random sport facts that I pretend to care about wholeheartedly.
Guess what I know: sport magazine reading is a thousand percent better than no reading at all!
Need some tips to get your non-reader in the game? Here are a few ideas to try (straight from my teaching days even if they didn’t work on my own kid).
Teaching Your Child to Love to Read
1. Fill your house with books. They don’t have to be just kid books either. Homes that are print rich are more likely to breed readers than homes that lack reading materials.
2. Be a good reading role model. Read with, to, and around your kids. Let them see you with your book in your hand and talk to them about why you love it.
3. Take book field trips. We go to the movies after reading the books they’re based on, you can go to the library or the zoo or something smart sounding if it makes you feel better.
4. Let them read what they want to read. Comic books, how-to manuals, sports magazines. Reading is reading when it comes to learning to love some reading.
5. Get yourself a partner in crime. Your child’s teacher is the perfect resource to help you find some good material for your reluctant little scholar. Ask them to weigh in and support your efforts at home.
*Sports Illustrated Kids is now offering a special subscription for you and your readers. Now when you purchase an entire year of SI Kids in print and on tablet for $19.95, you can send another gift of 12 issues (1 year) for only $5! You can subscribe here – www.sikids.com/gift.
**I am a part of the SI Kids blog ambassador program and have received compensation for this post. I joined the ambassador program because of our love of the product. All opinions are my own.