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17 June 2014


Playgrounds are a gateway activity to, well, activities. Watch yourself, CR.

When worried parents of current-non-readers come in looking for A Good Book for their current-non-reader, I like to chat (while fetching A Good Book) about how reading appetite waxes and wanes even for librarians. Thoroughly enjoying one book a year might make a better reader than dutifully slogging through one book a week to keep mom off one's back.

I'm totally with you with the library computers (nasty, dirty things) and dishwashers/husbands (are they even trying?).

Oh, Robin, soul sister,
Yes, thank you for the warning. I will "just say no" to activities other than the playground.

Good for you, still trying to educate the masses (all whilst getting them A Good Book, you multitasker!). God knows I love reading but I also know it (to use your terminology) is the gateway to poorly paid careers and avoidance of social functions, so honestly, my heart really wasn't in pushing reading on non-readers.

Oh, husbands. Our biggest altercation to date remains the time I returned home from giving birth to CR3 to find Mr. CR's and CRjr's dishes not even put in the dishwasher, so no, I would have to say they are not trying. Maybe they were off reading.

NOBODY loads the dishwasher correctly! I mean, is it really so HARD?

As for the rest of this article, all I can say is "from your mouth to God's ears." Or better, to the ears of all the parents out there.

But it's like all the parents I hear complain "my kid won't eat vegetables." I always answer, "What's *your* favorite vegetable?" and if they have one, it's usually "french fries." Sheesh. I remember my father smacking my hand when I reached for a sweet plump fresh tomato: "No tomatoes for you until you pick up your room!" And my kids begging for green beans straight from the freezer: "All right, just ONE, but then you have to wait..."

Show them that vegetables or books are lovely things, treats to be savored, and they'll GET it. And never ever say, "No, you can't read that."

(But what do I know? My college graduate daughter still moans about the worst punishment I ever inflicted on her: I confiscated all her books for a whole month, and she had to ASK me for one before she could read it!)

Great list, CR! I would add to it:

Read to your kids when they're small. Cuddling up with a story is a great way to relax at the end of the day. And if it happens to be The Little Red Hen, well you can sneak in a discussion of why it's so important for everybody to help out if everybody wants to eat ... and use it as shorthand when they grow up a bit, to remind them of the importance of pitching in when asked.

And read aloud snippets of interesting stuff (even if it's Readers' Digest jokes or the comics) even when they're older, for the whole family to enjoy or groan.

My word, I think I'm in love with you. :)

I really enjoyed the veggies stories (although I can quite honestly say I have never bonded, myself, with green beans, frozen or otherwise, despite my mother growing and cooking lovely organic beans my whole young life), and the wording of "show them that vegetables and books are lovely things." Because they are.

Taking away books for a MONTH? You are hardcore, and my hero. But I agree: try and make books the prize, not the "chore" that kids have to do over the summer.

I've literally heard my husband on more than one occasion, with a very annoyed voice, tell the kids to put down the books already. This from a man who rarely says a peep or disciplines. Yes, my work is done, and so I am off to the library. I hope somebody feeds the dog.

Reading to the kids, great idea! Oh wait...do you mean reading something they might enjoy? Does that mean I have to stop sneaking in more illicit reading of my own, by reading adult nonfiction to CRjr?

Just kidding. Nothing's nicer at the end of the day than relaxing with Beatrix Potter and the CRboys. You are so right.

CR Fan,
Well, maybe that's not the worst. If reading has a bit of the air of "forbidden fruit," maybe it will be that much more enticing to the kids. I know I loved to hide and read when Mom was looking for me to do some chores. Until I discovered Remington Steele on TV, and then I hid and watched Remington Steele. Thank goodness they didn't make that many episodes, or I wouldn't have gotten as much reading done.

I probably don't load the dishwasher properly, but luckily I'm the onl grown up in my house, and my son is not yet old enough to have an opinion on the subject.

When I was growing up, our primary house rule was that you could not be interrupted for ANYTHING if you were in the last twenty pages of your book. At other times, you could beg to be allowed to finish a chapter (or the ever-elusive "good stopping place"), but if you were in the last twenty pages, not even dinner or bedtime could make you quit. Which is just to say that I grew up in a house that respected reading -- mine and my mother's.

Hear, hear! My parents read me bedtime stories when I was little, but it wasn't every night. And there were books around the house. My mom esp. loved to read and I inherited nose-in-a-book syndrome from her. Determined to raise a reader, I made sure to make books available to my son, and to read to him every night. This year he turned 12 and after some flailing about which book he'd like read to him at night, he said, "Mom, I don't really want to have a story time anymore." I said that was cool. Lest you think he's coddled, no worries. He has plenty of freedoms. We've just kept up the story time all these years because he and his dad and I enjoyed it so much. All that is to say, eventually kids will decide when, how, what, and whether or not they want to read. A little encouragement and an atmosphere conducive to reading is really what's needed, imo.

I LOVE your rule and will be implementing it in this household. The last twenty pages in peace...genius.

Finally, a nice common-sense approach to reading. Make the books available, model the behavior, try to keep a bit of their time available for it...it's all you can do. Right now in my life I try to be a two- or three-books-a-week reader (in addition to reading to my little ones, which I like too), but there have been times where I hardly read anything.
p.s. I didn't think he was coddled, although I am probably raising two of the most coddled boys in the world, myself. Who can help but coddle? The big mean old world will be there for them soon enough, I figure.

You will be happy to know the kiddie computers at Sequoya all broke and have not been replaced...and hopefully won't be ever. lots of good comments from parents and hardly any complaints. libraries equal books! yeah!

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