Read ALL the Books!

Anyone who knows me knows I love to read.  This may be a bit of an understatement.  That I cannot not read maybe a better way to phrase it.

I buy a purse based more on if I can stuff a book or two in rather than if it is fashionable.  I keep books stashed in every room in the house and I am in the middle of all of them.  I try to keep a well-balanced selection of books going, though sometimes well-balanced means I hope that ever-growing stack by the side of the bed doesn’t crash over in the night.

Maybe you can relate?  Maybe not.  You might not have ever read a book that wasn’t assigned to you.  Consider this your homework then, if that helps:  find a book/genre/author you can enjoy.

I have a son who is just like me when it comes to reading.  And I have a son who isn’t.  The jury is still out on my daughter.  The oldest is the one I’ve said to more than once, “Please stop reading so we can start school!”  (I know.  I know.)  When I tell the kids to bring a book because we’ll be out and have times to wait, he isn’t who I’m reminding.  He’s the one I have to tell to leave the books at home when we’re going on a hike with friends.

I thought for a while that my younger son just might not like reading.  He’s so busy investigating everything and exploring everywhere that a book slows him down.  I had an epiphany when we met our children’s’ librarian after moving to Durango.

She was showing us around the library and explaining how it was set up.  We were discussing reading in general and what we all liked to read and just getting to know one another.  She mentioned in passing at it wasn’t that her husband didn’t like to read, he just didn’t like to read fiction.

I realized that she was describing my son.

I took him aside when she and I were done talking and pointed out the stacks that were set up just perfect for him!  I told him these were the shelves where he could learn new things.  These weren’t the books of stories.  We looked through a nifty brochure they have on the Dewey Decimal System and we realized most of what he’d like were in the 600’s and 700’s.  I turned him loose.  Set free to browse and discover new things, he lit up!

After probably a year he began to branch out over to the fiction section.  He’d grab a novel now and again, but he basically established himself as a non-fiction reader.  He’d check out probably twenty non-fiction books to every fiction one.  Now another year has passed and he drifts back and forth pretty evenly.

These days, he’s can be found curled up reading a book on wilderness survival, or a story about dragons.  Last week I came up upon he and his sister swinging in the hammock reading to each other from a children’s version of Great Expectations.

Being free to discover what he loves changed everything.

It’s changed my own thoughts on reading as well.

I used to think that some people liked to read and others didn’t and it was as simple as that.  Not now.

Now what I believe is that when someone tells me they don’t like to read, or their child doesn’t like to read, it’s that they simply haven’t found the right books yet.

I’m not trying to be simplistic here.  I get that reading can be a huge struggle.  Challenges like dyslexia are real and harder than I can even imagine.

What I’m suggesting for someone who can read, but loses interest is that they branch out with what they are trying to read.  Maybe the latest New York Times best sellers are never going to be your thing.

But figure out what is your thing.  It’s so worth it.

Go to the library and talk to the librarians.  Find out where in your library the books on a subject that interests you would be found.  Maybe you like stories, or want to learn more about a certain time period, a librarian should be able to suggest some authors you might enjoy.  Check out a lot of books in a variety of genres and just start reading.  It’s free, or rather you might as well use what your taxes have already paid for.

By the way, this might not be a popular thought in this day and age and rather ironic since you are reading this online, but it needs to be said.  Cutting down on screen time for both adults and children frees up more time to read real books.

A good book can completely engross a person as much as a screen can, but you have to stop looking at the screens long enough to open the pages.  Think about it.  We have all  heard someone say, “The movie was good, but the book is so much better!”

So, read any good books lately?  Tell me in the comments below!

Educational Side Note & Tip:  Maybe your child struggles to read because so many words are new and they have a hard time decoding them.  Why not find a book on tape with a good narrator and a print copy of the same book at the same time?  Have them listen to the story as they follow along in the book.  Oftentimes, a child hearing the words as they see them will comprehend their reading more.

I’m not opposed to just audio books on their own.  They can sure help with a long car ride and I love to play a story while the kids are working on other projects that are occupying their hands more than their brains.

I’m just suggesting that you add the print component at times, or for certain books, so that they can make the connection between what they see and what they hear at the same time.

It’s really logical if you think about it.  We’ve all been listening to people speak longer than we’ve been reading.  This is also why continuing to read aloud to someone even if they can already read is so important.  It builds vocabulary and comprehension as well as being entertaining.




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