Location: MN, USA
I remember cuddling up for hours with my daughter reading the classics. Meanwhile my son could of cared less. Naturally, I became anxious about his lack of desire to read books. Shouldn’t all children love the classics? The simple answer is no, or maybe not just yet. What I did start to notice is he would read the cereal box from to bottom every morning. He would read the owner’s manuals of his new electronic toys. He would read the road signs. They weren’t the classics, they weren’t even books, but he was reading! Eventually, the gross humor books took hold on him. You know, Captain Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Burp Book. Next came Calvin & Hobbs & statistical books like the World Record Books. Now, years later, he reads suspense books; Alex Rider, Daniel X, Maximum Ride. They are not exactly classics, but he has progressed to books with storylines and no pictures. On of that, his reading scores have surpassed those of his older sister. So if your son does not enjoy the classics, don’t worry. Hand him a cereal box!
Location: Rhode Island, USA
I love this post, Ann! It is so true that it does not have to be a book! My two youngest boys (ages 8 and 11) actually bicker at the breakfast table in the morning over who is going to read the box! I have now become smarter than them and take out two boxes and let them each read one. (That only took me about a week of asking them to please s bickering first thing in the morning)!
Location: Virginia, USA
Position: Education activist
I think these are smart comments. There is too much literary pretension in lower grades. If kids are reading ANYTHING, that’s great. Most adults don’t want to read the classics–why would these adults, when younger, want to? If you are going to pull boys into reading books, what about sports books, war books, adventure stories, science or technology books? Any book that deals with a kid’s hobby is great. Also, think about magazines as a stepping stone: Sports Illustrated, WIRED, Popular Science, Mechanix Illustrated, National Geographic. Every home should subscribe to at least one of these mags.
I do remember liking Alice in Wonderland. In general, if a book is short, I think you’ve got a better chance.
Location: MN, USA
Funny you should mention Popular Science. My son loves math and science, Not knowing if Popular Science would be too old for a 4th grader, I took a gamble and subscribed to it. He loves it! Whenever it arrives, he immediately starts paging through it. I have to admit, I have found some pretty cool things in that magazine myself.