Planting the Reading Tree

My previous post was a link to a story published on the UK Guardian’s website about how boys are losing interest in reading.


First I must deviate from what I want to say on this subject to ask a question.  How, in this day and age, with the prevalence of the internet, can anyone goThe Bridge to Terabithia cover from Wikipedia without reading, thus developing some sort of enjoyment of reading?


Now on with what I really want to say.


I don’t see a failing in the enjoyment of reading as something that could only plague boys.  I think there are a myriad of reasons of why boys are less likely to read, one of them being that it isn’t a part of their play and their heroes, whereas girls seem to have literature spattered throughout fantasy worlds.


Reading enjoyment is something that kids will learn at an early age, be it boy or girl.  Like most activities, it will be the parents who mold this behavior into them as a good thing or as something that is mocked at worst, or ignored at best. 


A person will be able to mold reading behavior into their children not only by beingThe Magician's Nephew cover from Wikipedia seen reading but also by reading to their children.  If you have children, take the time to read to them.  An hour, a half and hour isn’t too much to ask in your busy day.  It’ll probably be relaxing and on the plus side you’ll be able to add more books to your “read” shelf on Booklikes.  There are any number of fun authors to read to your kids to kick start their R. L. Stein, Frank W. Dickson (this is a pseudonym for any writing about the Hardy Boys), Robert Lewis Stevenson, Shel Sliverstein, Jack London, and many, many, many more.


Side-Note: No I do not have children, so take that advice as you will.  You can say I’m full of crap but I was once a child and I remember my dad taking the time out of his day and reading the Hardy Boys to my brother and I.  Those I consider special moments between me (the child) and parent (my dad); I’m sure your children will be the same.


In the article Michael Morpurgo puts forth the suggestion of teachers setting aside a part of the day for the exploration of their students reading.  I agree.  I remember my  fourth grade teacher reading to us as a class.  Though we were all old enough to read, it lit a spark in me to hear how someone else would say the words.  Made books like The Bridge To Terabithia and The Magician’s Nephew come to life for me.  Years later, as a college educated adulating holding down a demanding job in the military, I had to, had to find those books.  They still called to me from my youth.


Call of the Wild/White Fang Cover from Barns and Noble

I also think that Mr. Morpurgo gets it right when he says “It's not about testing and reading schemes, but about loving stories and passing on that passion to our children.”  How do you teach any child the joy of reading when you put the pressure of a test on them?  When you rack and stack them against their peers creating a challenge in the reading?  Pressure!  (Note: I’m not for getting rid of the grading system, but I believe in all things in moderation and not everything is universal for everyone.)


So the takeaway I really want to leave people with, if you’re a parent read to your children.  If you’re a teacher (grade school) set aside time for your to read to your children or them to read to you or for them to just read.  But I suppose that in this form (Booklikes) I am preaching to the choir, so really I hope that people on here are spreading this gospel.