Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Guest Post: Get Them To READ!

Cathy and Friend
A DEAR friend of mine and a fellow homeschool parent and blogger, Cathy Earle, recently posted this on Facebook and I asked her if I could just pass it along "as is" and she was happy to let me.  
For all of the parents who just want their children to PICK UP A BOOK, here is a wonderful story for you!
I was once asked to teach a voluntary after-school class for kids who go to public school and who were resistant to reading. They thought they didn't like reading, and I was asked to try to motivate them to read something...anything.

Of course one thing the kids in the class and I discussed for a few minutes was the idea that they did, in fact, read and enjoy reading -- when it was text messages and ____ [the kids filled in the blank with the kinds of things that they read as they pursued their interests--whether it was help boards for a video game or messages from an internet forum]...

I pointed out, "So, you guys DO like to read. When adults complain that you don't read, or don't like to read, they're talking about what?" And the kids agreed that it was books that adults wanted them to read. Textbooks, novels and other literature assigned for classes, and books for "pleasure reading" -- but which they never chose to do.

I forthrightly told the kids that I, too, usually felt quite resistant to whatever reading was assigned to me, but that I loved reading things I chose to read. And I told them that I had brought a pile of paperbacks that I loved, and that I hoped that some of them would love some of them, too.

And then I poured a mountain of paperbacks onto the front table, and grabbed them one at a time and gave a one-sentence sales pitch for each. I read the beginnings of many. The kids were champing at the bit to borrow those specific books to continue reading them. A lot of kids did read the books they borrowed, and a lot of them enjoyed the books. In some cases, they LOVED the books. Sometimes, not so much. No matter what, we were able to talk in class about the books we were all reading, and many times it was the kids' recommendations, more than my "sales pitch," that got others to borrow and re-borrow and pass on and on the more popular books.

I don't mind requiring reading in a class that is voluntary. But compulsory reading in a compulsory class is, in my opinion, just not cool. And it often ends affecting kids and their reading habits in a negative way rather than a positive one.
Please read more by Kathy at her blog:
Thanks Kathy Earle!

Welcome to my readers in Hong Kong!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:  Homeschooling:  Chapter One 
Or you may enjoy reading:  More Writing Prompts 
Or try: Great Reads for Teens and Tweens: For the Love of a Good Gook


  1. I definately agree! Great post - thanks.

  2. Totally true. Thanks for this :)

  3. I love this! I certainly remember reading some awful books in high school. My goal is to encourage my kids to pursue their passions & interests, and not focus too much on what they don't do great.

    Lisa - http://www.homeschool-ish.com

  4. I love reading with my kids, and they do too :)



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