Thursday, 11 February 2010

BTT: Encouragement

How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?

In the book Gifted Hands by brilliant surgeon Ben Carson, one of the things that turned his life around was his mother’s requirement that he and his brother read books and write book reports for her. That approach worked with him, but I have been afraid to try it. My children don’t need to “turn their lives around,” but they would gain so much from reading and I think they would enjoy it so much if they would just stop telling themselves, “I just don’t like to read.”

I don't have children so I have no first hand experience of encouraging them to read. I've always known that when I have children, I'll be reading to them from a very early age so that they have that early memory of books and reading connected to the warmth and love that I gave them.

I always remember my dad reading me bedtime stories and it's well-documented in my family that I'd come home from nursery school (at aged 3) and drag my big basket of books to the nearest parents, demanding that every one of those stories be read.

My parents are voracious readers. I've never seen them not be in the middle of reading something. Our house is filled to the brim with books! I imagine it's where my brothers and I got our love of reading. We look up to our parents when we're children and want to be like them. If we see them doing something like reading, we'll want to copy them.

Plus our Junior school organised book clubs - We'd take a catalogue home every couple of weeks, tell our parents which books we wanted, we brought the money in, and the school would send away for the books for individuals. It was exciting.

I think in order to introduce children and teenagers who don't read to something they'd sit down with is to find out their interests. There's always a book they'll have something in common with.

If they're a big fan of certain films that are based on books, that's always a good way to turn them to reading aswell. :)  


Amanda said...

I think the biggest thing is for kids to always see parents reading. My two younger kids were trying ot read before they could actually read because they saw us reading all the time.

Alayne said...

Cute story! I learned from my parents love of books as well.

I posted a Valentines book-related question at The Crowded Leaf if you're interested!

tweezle said...

Good answer! I remember the great feeling of bringing home new books from the Scholastic and Weekly Reader clubs. Once a month, if I remember correctly, we'd bring in money, and soon we'd have new books. Wow - I forgot about that. :)

I had to deal with this with my oldest child.
Here's my response.

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

I wish my mom and bought more books from those Scholastic lists. That would have made me happy.

Here is mine

serendipity_viv said...

I love the bit about dragging your book basket to your parents and demanding to be read too.

I have two kids who do not wish to read. I have tried everything and given up. I just hope my love of reading will one day rub off on them.

jlshall said...

Probably most people who are avid readers as adults have childhood memories of being read to by their parents. That's one of the most important things a parent can do for a child. But from what I'm reading today, I guess it doesn't work on all children.

This was a fun topic. My thoughts are here.

Melody said...

I totally agree with you there! :D

Michelle said...

Scholastic Book Club was awesome! My parents always let me get books from there. I agree that children seeing their parents read sets a huge example. My dad always had a book going, and even though he isn't as voracious a reader as I am, we still talk about books all the time. I now have similar discussions with my son and hope to have history repeat itself again with my daughter as she starts reading on her own.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I can force kids to read (or do anything, really), and offering incentives is not the way either. My parents never told me stories before bed but they did read a lot: newspapers, news magazines, and books. I must have picked up reading just by following their example.

Ceri said...

Amanda - Awww, that's so sweet. I love how enthused your boys get about books and reading. :D

Alayne - Thank, I'll go over and check it out. :)

Tweezle - Yeah, that sounds about right. :D I used to love it. Goosebumps, Sweet Valley High, Animal Ark. <3

Brooke - Awww, my parents didn't buy us much because we were never rich but they never said no to a book. :) I'm grateful for that.

Vivienne - Aww, maybe when they're older? I went through a stage of flat out refusing to read anything. Look at me now!

Jlshall - Yeah, I guess not. I suppose if a child has it ingrained in them that they're not interesting you can't force them to do anything.

Mel - :D

Michelle - Me too. I always remember my parents reading when I was a child. They had a huge bookshelf that went all around the whole of one wall and was stacked with books!

Matt - Yeah, I think parents are a huge influence. Then again, maybe some kids are natural book worms and have huge imaginations they want to put somewhere. :)

The Bookworm said...

I have read to my kids from an early age, and thankfully they do like to read. Plus we have tons of books here at home and I take them to the library on the regular. And they know I read and blog about it, so reading is just a part of our lives.

very cute that you dragged your basket of books so they could be read to you!

Introverted Jen said...

I forgot about the school book sales! Those were exciting days, when the books you'd ordered and sort of forgotten about all of a sudden showed up at school! I was introduced to some favorite books through some of their "grab bags!"