The year my sons fell in love with reading

“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.” -- Diane Duane

You can't stop at just one.  Unless you don't really care for potato chips.  Strange as it may seem, there are people in this world who don't like potato chips.  Or maybe they just haven't found the right flavor....

3Po and Jammy have always been a hard sell when it comes to reading.  They were never interested in sitting still and reading with us when they were babies.  It took Alfie and me a long time to realize that we needed to find the right book.  Once we presented them with books about anything on wheels, they couldn't look away.

I've been repeating that mantra over the years -- they just haven't found the right book -- as my boys have struggled to read.  Actually, they never really struggled with reading, they just struggled with wanting to read.  For the past 2 or 3 years, reading has been something they do for 20 minutes a day in order to earn time on a computer or video game.  I tried to introduce them to the tried-and-tested "boy" books:  Captain Underpants, My Weird School, Harry Potter, but nothing really captivated them.  When given a choice, they would always go for comics and graphic novels like Tintin or Asterix or Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I grieved a little because I wanted them to experience the joy of falling in love with a good book.

But something changed this year.  Over the summer they read their way through the Ordinary Boy series and the Nathaniel Fludd series.  They started out very slowly, but gradually, they began picking up their books of their own accord, reading past the 20-minute mark, wanting to find out how things turned out, wanting to know.

Then we went to Universal Studios in Orlando and everyone was enchanted by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Perhaps they began to realize that you don't need pictures in a book to enjoy it; after all, here was an entire world brought to life from a book with no pictures in it!  When we got home, 3Po decided he wanted to try reading Harry Potter (which he had tried to start 2 years ago but grew bored with).  Since 3Po had claimed The Sorcerer's Stone, Jammy decided to read Percy Jackson.

And that's all it took.  I knew those books were the right ones, but my boys just needed a bit more time to realize it!  Their noses have literally been buried in those books.  They spent Labor Day weekend on the couch, reading, reading, reading.  They are hooked, and this is one addiction I fully approve of.

This morning, Jammy couldn't even put The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson book 3) down long enough to walk to school.  I couldn't stop smiling.  That's what I used to do.  What The Pea used to do, what she still does.  And now Jammy is doing it.   They'll be reading in the shower next!

This is a huge milestone.  New worlds are opening up for them, and I'm so happy for them.  I'm even more convinced now that anyone can be a reader.  All it takes is the right book.

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1 comment:

starjas said...

Harry Potter was the gateway book for my little sister as well.Prior to that she did not have an interest in reading. My sister is about to graduate with a degree in English from Cal and currently living her last semester abroad in London a few blocks from Kings Cross Station.