Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Salon - My Reluctant Reader

My reluctant reader wouldn't mind that I call her that. 
She knows.
She's also my middle daughter...and has a pretty nicely developed case of middle child syndrome.
She knows that too.

I have been a reader all my have a child who chooses not to read has been difficult to say the least.  When she was little I bought her anything and everything I could possibly think of that might spark her interest in reading...the last book I remember us enjoying together was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone...we read it aloud as a family because our school librarian told my oldest that reading Harry Potter was like worshipping Satan.

Yes, I did go to the school the next day.
Yes, they still remember me.
But, that's a story for another day :/

Every year for Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Groundhog's Day, you name it, I buy books.  When we go to BooksAMillion, my kids learned quickly that Mom can't say no.  My reluctant reader would always manage to find YuGi-Oh cards or some such as that rather than a book.  I remember vividly sitting on the floor beside her pulling down all the comic books.  She went through a comic phase and I bought them all.

Two years ago she was introduced to To Kill a Mockingbird at school.
She couldn't put it down. 
I tried not to say much because by that time she had reached those early teenage years when one encouraging word from Mom could've very likely have shut the whole process down.  She finished the book and couldn't stop talking about how good it was; she asked for the movie for Christmas and of course received it.  I have no earthly idea how many times she watched it, but if you have any questions about it, be sure to email her ;)

I very subtly started trying to find other books that I thought might interest her...but no luck...she began to shut down on me again.  I didn't want to push, so I backed off.
After buying her the usual books for Christmas this past year, as a last ditch idea, I bought her a Nook-Color. 


Not only has she read several Lauren Conrad's since Christmas, but she and I have finished our first story together!!
She read Sea by Heidi Kling on her Nook and I read the hardback copy we have.  Yes, we had to pay for it twice, but let me shout from the rooftops that I DON'T CARE!!!!!!

We have now started on our second choice, The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart...again, her on the Nook and me with the hardback. 

She is actually ahead of me right now so I've got to get moving ;)

She checks with me periodically to see where I am and compare with her progress...she came in my bedroom last night and announced that we would be reading Night by Elie Wiesel next.  I've already read this one and know that it will wear her out emotionally...that's the kind of sensitive kid she is.  But, I'm going to continue following her lead. 

I think the part that makes me happiest is to be able to share the books with her.  The fact that she's reading by choice and is choosing some really interesting selections is incredible...but the fact that she wants me to share it with her is the icing on the cake.
Keep your fingers crossed :)


  1. That's lovely that you're reading the books together. I have a lot of reluctant readers in my class so I know how frustrating it is and I'm trying everything I can.

  2. What a great way to motivate your daughter to read. It sounds like it's well worth the price of two books.

  3. How cool! And Beth Kephart is a great choice!

  4. That just gave me goosebumps. I have a reluctant reader as well, but now and again, I will be able to capture his fleeting attention. He also loves audio books that we listen to in the car together. Beth Kephart is a precious author. If she likes this one (what is not to like?) there are many more to explore.

  5. Sam, it's stunning how many kids don't read these days, isn't it?

    bermudaonion, the time that's just hers and mine is worth paying the price 100 times ;)

    rhapsody, I had read a lot about Kephart on other people's Whit likes uplifting types of stories...and is not interested in vampires or other paranormal or dystopian themes.

    Sandy, when she came in last night and told me she wanted to read Night next, I just shivered bc I could hardly contain myself. But, I acted real cool about it so she wouldn't know how excited I was ;)

  6. Oh that is so neat! I hadn't thought about the technology itself making reading appealing to kids, but it completely makes sense. How wonderful!

  7. Thanks for sharing this story about your daughter. This is a the best sales pitch for e-readers I've heard yet. It actually touched my heart.

  8. How lovely that you've made such a breakthrough! My son stopped his relationship with books the day I stopped reading to him (he was almost 13) and has no interest in them at present. He is still at the age when a word from me could set him more against something than ever, so I am biding my time!

  9. Hello from France ! I've finally decided to write a comment! So, sorry for the mistakes. It's much more easier to read than to write in english!
    My daughter, who's 15, until january 2011, used to read only historical books. She didn't even want to "try" other books, other stories!
    But, at the beginning of january 2011, she told me : "Do you think I can try to read english books?" (she's learning english at "school" (?) since 4 years); "Yes, of course! You could perhaps begin with a book you have already read in French"."I would like to read Harry Potter".
    I ordered only the first one! At the end of the week, she had read it. At the end of february, we went to Paris and we bought the six following ones. (in our little town, we cannot find english books!).
    As she had to wait three weeks for HP books, she decided to read the Twilight series in english (I bought them one year ago). When we came back from Paris, she read the other HP. At the end of february, she watched the movies in english (subtitled in french but also in english). Then we watched them together.
    Two weeks ago, I bought "The summer I turned pretty", then "It's not summer without you". Now she is waiting for "We"ll always have summer".
    It's really wonderfull!
    I read them after her. We shared our feelings. It's so great!
    She's now reading "girls' stories" thanks to the english language! Keep also for me fingers crossed:)
    Thanks to share your middle daughter's readings. It's going to be very easier for me to choose books in english for my daughter!
    Sorry! It was a little bit long...

  10. Alyce and Margot, Whitney is a techie...she can put anything together and is a whiz on the I'm sure that's how the Nook-Color grabbed her.

    litlove, I think boys are even harder than younger brother NEVER read growing up but he has started picking things up at age 30...he's very selective (outdoor adventures etc) but he is reading :)

    Elleby, I'm SO glad you commented!!! I've been encouraged by several other bloggers that we can't go wrong with Beth Kephart so hopefully you can find some of her books in English :) My daughter didn't care for the Twilight series...she's not into vampires and paranormal stuff at all. Thank you, too for sharing titles with me...I need all the help I can get!!

  11. Your post really touched me. I have a reluctant reader myself and know the heartache and yes, being a person who loves to read it makes my heart ache my son doesn't love it as well. But then, you know that. When we finally found a genre he loved. While reading still isn't his great love he has become a reader in his own right. I'll have to have him try the Nook and see where that leads us.

    Here is a post I wrote last year about my son and reading:

  12. My youngest (11) is a reluctant reader while her sisters are voracious readers. But we have found books that she is now very passionate about. She started riding English Saddlebred horses and is really excited about all the Black Stallion books. She also read Steinbeck's Red Pony and loved it. I am so very happy to have some niche for her. She is a very building and creating kind of kid.

  13. That is wonderful you found a way to read with her! Perhaps it is the whole tech aspect that is really drawing her in. Some of my students suggested that the school lend ebooks for reading and that really surprised me!

    I hope it continues!

  14. My son knowS I'm an easy touch when it comes to books. So glad to hear she is getting back on the reading train. But I had a giggle of her following up some Lauren Conrad books with Night!!!! That is quite an extreme change!