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Information at our fingertips but the art of reading is slowly dying. I’ve noticed as my children have grown that their reading requirements in school have dwindled to less meaty books. I mean books that we analyzed and took apart for literary devices such a color imagery and theme. The classics that puzzled us and made us hate to write those papers for English class but kept us up talking about the character’s intent and the symbolism behind every color and action mentioned in a storyline.
Forced Reading is Failure from the Start
Guess what?! Reading is an essential tool that requires comprehension skills for success. It doesn’t matter the direction our children go in their education; they will need to read and comprehend information. Taking apart SWOT analysis, learning about the different crankshafts and manifolds for car models, or new tax depreciation rules, or recipe for a cake; our children will need to read.
Initially, I force volunteered my kids to read many of the classics and joylessly take them apart with me during our summer homeschool times. The result was they could identify reading concepts but started to hate reading. They skipped and skimmed through their school reading and were less effective in their work and exams.
I quickly realized that I was killing my kids love of reading. They loved reading when they were younger and enjoyed picking out books and sharing storylines. But in my quest to make them better readers; I had taken the joy out of reading and they hated it.
Bringing back the love for Reading
I realized I could get the same results just going about it in a different manner. I’ve encouraged my kids to read outside of school. I ask them to share what they are reading and I read the book as well. Sometimes we find the book as a movie and we watch it as a family. We dissect it together criticizing characters and their actions like a bunch of teenagers gossiping about another clique of kids in our class. But really I’m just asking them to discuss character emotions, intent, inference characteristics and support their answer with evidence. Oooh, see that I’ve snuck in a bunch of Language Arts concept without actually having them sit down and write out a paper or book report on their leisure reading. I now encourage the kids to pick books and yes, graphic novels to read as well. We read in the car, on trips, and on those days when this mom shuts down the internet for the day.
Reading is a lifetime gift we can give to our kids. It is a skill that carries across every format, subject, and media. Encourage your kids to read, read, read!