Oh the Irony!I started reading a new book today called "Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading" by Kelly Gallagher. This book is required professional reading for my graduate class this summer since my graduate degree will be in Reading. I love that Gallagher coined the term Readicide...
Read-i-cide n: The systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools.As I was reading this book on my Kindle at the pool today, a young man (about 12 or 13) came up to me and asked me if it was a "Nook". I told him it was a Kindle. He asked me what a Kindle was. I explained that it was like a "Nook" but better. ; ) I showed him that it had 100's of books on it and that it was amazing because it was like carrying my whole library with me all the time. The conversation quickly turned when I asked..."Do you like to read?"
Over and over, even with my own son, I hear from adolescence that they don't like reading, they hate it, they never want to read...unless, it's a good book.
Unless it's a good book.
This was the exact response I received from him. However, by the time we finished a conversation about books, reading and the endless possibilities; he not only wanted to give it a try but he thought it would be pretty cool on a Kindle. The point being, any child can get excited about books. Technology is simply another good way to put a book into a child's hand. Then I started thinking...
What we doing to our kids? How do kids not know what the good books are? How do they not know that there are good books? Where are we going wrong? As passionate as I am about reading, my own son doesn't choose to pick up a book. He has certain books that he loves but once he read them all, that was that. Why isn't he reading? It is my fault..it is the schools fault.
Husband disagrees, he doesn't like to read and so he thinks that it is just fine for a person to not like to read. That is, in my book, bologna. He doesn't understand because he had never experienced the best read of his life...time and time again. Life is to short for a bad book. I believe if you are in the middle of a book, in the beginning or even the end, you should put it down and start another if it is a bad one. I simply don't think that we should stop reading when we find a bad one.
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If you put kids in a candy store and say..."Have at it. Try them all." You better believe they will eat candy until they are sick. They will taste with delight or spit out the bad but no matter, they will move on to the next piece of candy. Why? Why don't they stop with the first bad piece they come too? I don't have to answer it for you. We all know why. Why isn't this the same for reading? The reason might be because of the different skill levels. It might be because the child hasn't tasted success or joy with a book. The reason might be because they've never witnessed someone enjoying a good book. However, if we start viewing books as being like candy and library's the candy store, attitudes will change.
I love it when I hear my oldest son talking to his book; he might be cheering on the heroine or fussing at the bad guys or warning the beloved supporting character. It thrills my heart to hear him express delight in the words on a page. In the images his mind creates with the words he reads, wisdom is growing.
So, what are we parents to do? How about a trip to a used book store? Or a relaxing stroll through a library? Or maybe setting aside a time for reading during our busy summer days? Oh, how about we read ourselves?
What will you do this summer to encourage a reader in your house?