Reading has always been a big thing in our homeschool – both because I love reading and want to instill that love in my kids through great books and because it’s been a struggle for two of my kids.
Josh and Brianna both have at least some degree of dyslexia. Though she reads well now, it was Brianna’s struggle to learn to read that ultimately led to our decision to give homeschooling a try.
I’ve always tried to be laid-back with Josh’s reading instruction and not make it the area of contention that it became for Brianna. There were times, though, when I wondered if he would ever learn to read.
Megan has always read well, but, much to my dismay, she showed no desire to read for pleasure. That was such a disappointment to me because I always thought that, with my love of reading, I would have at least one kid who loved to read.
I had several wise homeschool moms tell me to find books on topics that the kids loved and that would open the door of reading for them. I tried, but just couldn’t seem to find just the right book. I shared favorites from my childhood, topics of interest, books recommended by friends – nothing.
For Brianna, we finally found the switch that flipped the love of reading on with Twilight. Yeah, I know that makes some of you cringe, but we both love the series. Not only did it ignite a love of reading for her, but it opened up some great opportunities for conversation between the two of us.
The most unexpected thing that came from Brianna reading Twilight was her love of Shakespeare. Author, Stephanie Meyer references at least one Shakespeare novel in each of the Twilight books. Yes, now my reluctant reader reads Shakespeare for fun
For Megan, the switch was Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the series, but it’s hard to look too negatively at a book that turns a kid into a voracious reader overnight.
Megan devoured each of the Wimpy Kid books before deciding to give Magic Tree House a try. She’s read nearly all of those now and reads, on her own, the American Girls books for the book club she’s in. Nowadays, Megan typically has two or three books going at a time.
Josh has been my most reluctant reader. I finally just gave him an ultimatum a few months into this school year: read the instructional book we were working through, books he chose from the library, books I chose from the library, or go to a tutor. I was done.
He went with me to the library that afternoon and picked out some books. I think we’ve read nearly every book the library has on the armed forces, SWAT teams, special forces, and weapons. I know more than I ever cared to know about those subjects, but Josh’s reading has improved phenomenally.
He actually got upset last week because I wanted to do something different with our reading time – a reading level assessment and a comprehension activity – and thought I would give him a break from our regular reading practice. Nope, he wanted to read because we were to the chapter on weapons. He actually did the other stuff without complaint once I agreed that he could read his book, too.
Josh has always been more interested in non-fiction books, than fiction. He is definitely my “read for information” guy, while my girls prefer reading for entertainment.
I’ve been trying to keep in mind what a friend of mine used to do with her kids. When they went to the library, they were supposed to choose at least one non-fiction book and one biography, along with any other books they chose. This gave them exposure to a wide variety of topics. Of course, for Josh, I might have to make him choose at least one fiction book.
Movies are another great source of book inspiration since so many movies are based on books. I’ve read several Nicholas Sparks books because the movies looked interesting. I just finished The Hunger Games before passing it along to Brianna because we saw the movie trailer and thought it looked interesting.
Sometimes it takes a while to find it, but it’s worth searching for that book that sparks your child’s interest in reading.
What book flipped the switch for your child?