Today a neighbor stopped by and asked, “Are your kids just VORACIOUS readers?” I hated my answer. No. Oh, how I wish they were. I wish I had a magic switch to turn on that made them love books. Don’t get me wrong – they love stories. They love having me read to them. We’ve read since they were, well, in utero. But my kids still have to be
forced told to pick up a book. That’s right. I said it. My kids don’t love to read.
One day I got really excited because I stepped into our family room to discover that my 10 year old son, Tyler, was reading. Dost mine eyes deceive me?!?? I didn’t even make him read! He’s READING! ON HIS OWN! Hallelujah!! In that second I was pretty sure he had finally found the joy of reading that I have. Happy dance! Happy dance! I was convinced in that split second that I was going to have to force books out of his hands because he would love reading so much. After all, that’s what all the experts say; read to your kids and they will grow up loving books and being lifelong readers.
My joy was short-lived. A few minutes later he put the book down and asked if he could go over to his friend’s house. Of course! You most certainly can, you sweet, precious little reader, you! Then, mid happy dance-steps I heard him on the phone with his buddy: “I knew she’d say yes if I read for a few minutes.” I’d been had.
The truth is, I hate telling you this. A part of me feels like a woman who homeschools, who loves education, who reads to her kids every day, who has a house full of books, who loves books so much herself, is letting you down by admitting this. My kids don’t love to read. They tolerate it at best. They often struggle. They complain. They feel like reading a book is a chore. Even though we do cool book projects, fun read-alouds, and book discussions that they enjoy, the actual act of reading is not fun for them. It makes me feel like quite a failure to tell you this. But I still want to tell you, because often when I’ve felt like a failure at something I meet someone who has the same struggles. I meet someone who is searching for the same answers I am. I meet someone, and then I feel like maybe I’m not all alone. Maybe the experts were just wrong and I’m not a failure. Maybe that’s just life, and we keep going, doing our best.
I really hope someday I can amend this post with a disclaimer at the bottom saying, “Keep reading to your kids! It took a long time, but eventually my kids fell in love with books! It will happen for you too!!” The truth is, I’m not sure it will ever happen. I’m not sure of anything, but I do know that books make me happy and I will keep sharing them with the kids, even if they aren’t convinced. We will build up our little reservoirs of knowledge one painful 20 minute session at a time. We will read.