Wednesday, June 17, 2009


This photo says it all. It’s a picture Kenny drew, expressing his feelings about reading “Flat Stanley”. This boy does not enjoy reading.

Don’t get me wrong; he’s great at it. I don’t know what grade level he reads at but it’s certainly above the one in which he’s currently situated. For some reason though, he just doesn’t enjoy it. We’ve tried finding genres he might get into but so far he’s only really loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and the Black Lagoon series. I guess my complaint is that they’re too easy for him and that when I actually crack the whip and force the issue, he reads and rereads only those books.

I’ve never understood not reading. My bathroom looks like a library and every room in this house is populated with books. I’m reading three right now (Lost Battalions, Basic Economics, and The Know-It-All). I just picked up a fourth today on a Barnes and Noble run: The Motion of the Ocean by Janna Cawrse Esarey. She’s an old (though younger than me) family friend and fellow Whittie. Really looking forward to losing myself in her exploration of a new marriage in close quarters. I love reading; it’s my escape. I guess if you’re 7 going on 8 and you’re Kenny, maybe you don’t need an escape.

Thinking back, we had the same concern about Sierra until just last year. But then she discovered the Twilight series. For a girl who still considers boys “barfsicles”, she was sucked into the series in record time. *sigh*. But the up side to being sucked in has been that she now understands that reading can be a lot of fun and totally absorbing. That she can sit down and read a book hundreds of pages long in just a day or two. This experience has upped her confidence and led her to other books that might otherwise have scared her off. I’m sure it’s the same effect the Harry Potter series had on lots of kids.

Today I pulled out The Phantom Tollbooth and told Kenny that he’d be reading it for half an hour before he did anything else. He ranted about how boring it looked, how boring it must be, completely ignorant of the irony. He sounded just like the main character, Milo. Eventually he settled down with it and read. And read. When the time was mostly up he reluctantly admitted to sort of liking it.

I wonder if reverse psychology would work? If I told him that reading sucks and I don’t ever want to see him do it in my presence, would that pique his interest? Maybe I’m not that desperate . . .
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  1. What books have you tried with him? I had a little of the same problem with Nathan. He was really picky about what books he read until this past year. Let me know what you have tried and I'll see if anything we have been reading might pique his interest.

  2. Thanks for mentioning The Motion of the Ocean, Tiffany. I hope your reaction to my book is nothing like the picture Kenny drew...

  3. I did not like reading as a boy. I did not read books for pleasure until I was out of college.

    I only mention it to point out that it does not necessarily doom one to a tragic unexamined life of menial labor if reading isn't your thing early on.


So, what do you think?