I have a reluctant reader. He is joyful, smart boy who admittedly hates to read. Hates to read. Writing those words pains me as a literacy teacher and book lover. I have tried everything: new series of books, picturebooks, easy books, popular books, online non-fiction, poetry and more. He reads them and amuses me, but has never truly fallen in love with reading. I wished for those ‘one more chapter’ moments or the excitement of meeting a new character to surface and I waited. I waited, but not so patiently. I urged him to ‘give books a try’ and ‘keep reading to see if you like it’, but was struggling with how to hide my frustration at his distaste for something that I love.
Thankfully, I came across this blog post from Paula Bourke during the March Slice of Life challenge. It really spoke to me and reminded me that I should give my children the same consideration that I give my students: the gift of time and a quiet persistence that they will indeed become readers and self-identify as one. In her post, Paula reminds us that ‘books are patient’ and will wait for us until we are ready for them. Those three powerful words, books are patient, changed my mindset and my thinking. Rather than continue to nag my son to read, I reminded him: “You will find the right book soon, but don’t worry, books are patient and will wait for you!”. That became my mantra, and his, and it changed the frenzied tone of reading time at home.
I am happy to announce that my newfound approach has made the difference, along with a book series that has captured his attention and his mind. Last night, we read 4 chapters of ‘I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906’. For the first time, he couldn’t hold back his predictions, thinking and comments. As we finished a chapter, instead of hopping up off the couch, he said, “ No! Mom! We HAVE to read another one! I need to know what happened!”. Music to my ears. Just beautiful.
Books are patient. Which ones are waiting for you?