As a former educator for nearly 20 years I am embarrassed to admit that I recently searched the Internet for “Books for kids who hate to read.” After all, don’t I know how to embed children with an unquenchable appetite for books? Evidently, I do not.
What I thought was being done in secret, warranted a giggle from my eighth grader for whom I began the search. As he looked over my shoulder he said, “That’s funny mom, kids who hate to read.” Exchanging words in order to defend my search wasn’t necessary. He knew that I was making my best effort to help him to engage in book reading without much struggle. “If the story is interesting, you’ll want to continue reading; so let’s find something interesting.”
I was thrilled with the amount of choices which popped up and was not surprised at the titles such as “Captain Underpants,” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” both of which were too juvenile for an 8th grader. Since his interest was piqued, he slid next to me on the chair and began looking at the different titles recommended for someone his age who struggles with reading. “That one looks boring,” “That’s for girls,” “Too many pages,” and “That sounds dumb,” were among his most common comments, which I fully expected. No one who finds reading difficult, has trouble remembering what he reads, and struggles with word deciphering, explodes with joy over new book choices.
Regardless of the compelling synopsis of the various books we perused, it’s the picture on the cover and low page count that prompts his choosing. If a book report could be done using the articles found in Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine, book selecting would disappear until high school.
I’m grateful that character building falls on the shoulders of the parent and is independent of hating to read. The same cannot be said for Bible reading, yet people continue to make excuses for letting their Bible remain closed and attracting dust on the shelf. “It’s too wordy” “Too many rules and expectations,” “Hard to understand” or “It’s not for me,” are just a few of the excuses people use for not spending time communicating with their heavenly Father. God’s Word, the Bible, is a living, breathing guidebook for navigating life, inspired by God, the creator of the universe. Not reading God’s Word has consequences I am not willing to experience and reading it has life changing consequences I prefer to embrace.
Finally my son decided on a book that was 312 pages, has large print, made the list of books for haters, and has an appealing cover. Our hopes are high. Comprehension is going to be another hurdle over which to leap, and for that reason, if I need to dress up in the characters while he reads the story aloud, we will visit that option. I have no shame and conveniently have a large bin in the garage labeled “costumes.”