Hey everyone, it’s Whatever Wednesdays again. Today is just a short post about “The Love of Reading.”
The Love of Reading?
As I’ve said before, I really want to instill the importance of reading to my children. My mother used to take us to the library every weekend when I was young and I read a ton of books there. The majority of the books I read were by Matt Christopher about sports. Then as I got older, I began reading biographies about baseball. It may seem kind of weird, but I know a good amount of very old and relatively obscure baseball players. Off the top of my head, people like Walter Johnson and Harmon Killebrew.
It seems kind of weird for a little kid to read biographies, but I was so enamored by baseball at that age that I wanted to read everything about it. I developed the ability to read quickly, retain the information, and summarize the salient points.
Unfortunately, it seems I’ve forgotten about how “The Love of Reading” is created. In my effort to give my daughter Kylie a similar experience, I think I’ve managed to go down the wrong path.
What do you mean?
You can’t force “The Love of Reading”. It comes about naturally. I tried to explain to my daughter Kylie how important it is. Then, I researched the best books for her age and tried to buy them for her. I thought to myself, she will have this enormous library of great books to read and I will be the best dad ever…
However, that’s not how it works.
Despite my best efforts, by buying her the Ivy & Bean series, which gets rave reviews — It’s a slog for her to read. She just doesn’t really connect with the characters. After she finishes the chapter for her reading log, she just puts it down and moves on to something else. That’s not the “can’t put this book down” sensation you get from the love of reading.
So, what did you do?
I took a step back and observed for a bit.
For her past birthday she received this book:
It’s been sitting in her room in a birthday bag, but she never read it, because she never knew she had it. Then one day, while cleaning up her room she found this book and wanted to read it. Of course we said go ahead. However, what surprised us was that she read the book (all 96 pages!) in one night.
She couldn’t put it down.
That’s it! She needs more of THIS.
I got on Amazon that night and found the other 2 books in the series:
As you would expect, as soon as those came, she read those in one night each as well. Those books still hang out by her bed at night in case she wants to read them again.
Unfortunately, there are only 3 books in that series.
So, now what?
Well, that’s when I had my epiphany:
You can’t teach or force “The Love of Reading”. You can only guide them.
My daughter loves princesses and LEGO. Why didn’t I just buy her these LEGO Disney Princess books in the first place? Well, first of all I didn’t even know they existed. Second of all, I thought all the Disney books were too easy for her.
However, I guess I didn’t try hard enough to see what really interested her. I mean, I knew she loves Disney and Princesses, but perhaps I should have tried harder to find age-appropriate books for her in her interests.
So why did she slog through Ivy & Bean, but could race through LEGO Disney Princess? Well, one thing is the characters. She loves LEGO and Disney Princess. However, the second thing is there are a lot of beautiful color pictures. Perhaps we moved up too quickly into the “chapter books with only a few pictures” stage.
So then, I set to work trying to find the “next book series” for her. She is still reading Ivy & Bean for her reading log just because I think it’s good for her. However, the likelihood is those books will never be read again after she finishes them. Going forward, I wanted to get her something that she really enjoys reading — and can’t put down.
I’ve mentioned it before, but my daughter really loves Winx Club. It’s essentially girls who get fairy powers and fight bad guys. She absolutely adores this series and talks about it all the time. So I was wondering… are there any books?
Turns out there are… but they’re graphic novels…
It was printed way back in 2014, so it’s not too easy to find a new copy. However, I managed to find a new one and bought it for her. I was a little concerned that she may have difficulty with it since its a graphic novel and not a normal book, but she took right to it.
She absolutely adores this book and it’s appropriate for her grade level (2-3) and age range (6-11). Additionally, it’s an astounding 832 pages since it’s the full 9 volume collection. The vocabulary of the book is actually pretty advanced as well, so color me impressed.
This book sits in her bed with her with its “Bloom” bookmark that I made and laminated for her. She looks forward to bedtime and reading a bit before going to sleep.
Oh great, anything else?
Well, since she seems to like graphic novels, so I started looking for graphic novels with good reviews. I stumbled upon this one:
It gets rave reviews and is a apparently a #1 New York Times Bestseller?
” Kazu Kibuishi is the #1 New York Times bestselling and Eisner-nominated creator of the Amulet series, and of a collection of his popular webcomic, Copper. He is also the cover illustrator of the 15th anniversary paperback editions of the Harry Potter series. He lives near Seattle, Washington, with his family. Visit him online at www.boltcity.com. “
I showed Kylie a few pages of the books, and she wants it, so I went ahead and bought it. I want to cultivate her love of reading as much as possible. Perhaps she needs graphic novels as a way to transition into chapter books without pictures. After she finishes the Winx Club graphic novel collection she can start on Amulet.
Long story short, reading is reading. Let them read what they want.
Knowing my son, he’ll want to read the entire Captain Underpants series:
It’ll be there waiting for him whenever he’s ready.
Reading is reading.
You can’t force or teach “The Love of Reading”.
You can only guide, support, and cultivate it.
I’m doing what I can.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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