Thanks to everyone who has been downloading my TBR lists! If you have friends who would also appreciate some reading suggestions, please send them over here to get the list from yesterday’s blog post. NOTE: In some browsers, you can’t see the letters when you type your name and email, but please be assured, it is registering them, and when you hit that you’re done, the TBR list PDF should actually open in your browser. If you can’t access it, feel free to email me (lvanderkam at yahoo dot com) and I will email it to you directly. You can also leave comments on that post (which I am monitoring closely) and I will try to trouble-shoot for you.
Now on to today’s topic: managing my kids’ TBR lists.
Like many parents, I am trying to encourage my kids to spend more time reading, and less time looking at screens. In particular, I am trying to help them develop the habit that reading is just what one does before bed. In my recent time perception survey (which will become part of Off the Clock), I found that people who read before bed are more likely to have an abundant perspective on time than people who watch TV or surf the web before bed. Same time, different activity — different feeling about life.
My pre-literate younger children get read to at night. The older two can read on their own. Getting them to read involves two things.
First, structurally creating time to read. I am doing my best to make sure the two older boys are in their room (they share) at 8:30 p.m. I generally don’t turn off the lights until 10:00, so they have this 90 minutes specifically as reading time.
Second, making sure they have good stuff to read. Their definition of “good” is a wee bit different from mine but I feel like if reading isn’t fun, they won’t do it, so I encourage them to think about what they enjoy reading. I’m also a wee bit less frugal in this department than in other places. We’ll go to the library more this summer, but if they tell me a book they really want that’s a new title, I’m highly likely to just purchase it on Amazon.
That’s how we just wound up getting 5 more books in the Gameknight 999 series, by Mark Cheverton. My 7-year-old is really into Minecraft, and these are novels set in Minecraft worlds. Since they’re “Age 9 and up” they’re not really beginning reader books, and I’m quite proud of him that he’s challenging himself this way. I really hope Cheverton (or his team) can write some more books quickly. At this pace we will run out of them pretty soon!
The 10-year-old is a bit more complicated. He has had some real difficulties with reading comprehension this year. As we’ve talked about it (and he sometimes reads this, so I don’t think I’m saying anything he wouldn’t agree with), we’ve realized that if the literature bores him, his mind wanders off somewhere completely different. Currently, the place of that wandering is to the top grossing movies of all time, and if current rates continue, how long would it take for Beauty and the Beast, or Wonder Woman, to pass Jurassic World, or what have you. But it’s been other places, like how long each of the oldest living people in the world held that title. If the literature excites him, he races through it, and doesn’t remember the details that get asked in reading comprehension tests. Anyway, we bought him two titles off the suggested summer reading list from school that he chose, and then two other fantasy-type books that he likes (I welcome other fantasy suggestions). I’m trying to ask him to report each morning on what he read the night before. He would rather make his own timelines and create make-believe lists of the top grossing movies of all time in some alternate universe, and we’re leaving time for that too, but when he gets into a book, he does enjoy the experience, so sometimes it just takes a little nudge.
Curiously, the 10-year-old has also really started getting into People magazine and Us Weekly. Maybe it’s related to the interest in top-grossing movies. I’m repeating to myself that reading is reading on that one.
What are your kids reading this summer? Do you have times set up specifically for reading? I have some hope that the 5-year-old will be able to start reading to herself by the end of the summer — she is close — but we shall see.
Photo: Book tornado in the boys’ bedroom