Reluctant Readers: Finding the Right Book Part Two
It would be easier if we could say, "My children dislikes reading, so he doesn't have to read," in much the same way we can say, "My child doesn't enjoy baseball, so he doesn't have to play." Unfortunately that is not the case. Reading is a life skill. (Some might say baseball is, too, but that's another topic.) Not a day goes by that we don't read something, if only the label on a can of green beans.
Just the facts please.
One reason children dislike reading, especially boys, is they don't relate to fiction. Many children's minds are focused on what is true, what are the facts, what can I learn from this, and if the reading material is about a pretend boy and his dog, the child
doesn't "get it." Finding the right book for this child means we look for biographies, travel journals, true stories of varying types. I think that is why "My Side of the Mountain" resonates with so many. The author has successfully created a work of fiction that reads like truth.
To help in your search for books your child will enjoy, look for references such as Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson. This great resource is not just a list of books by genre, but it provides detailed information about each title to help with your decisions.
Find "living books."
Charlotte Mason spoke a lot about basing a child's education around "living books" rather than text books. Just because your child prefers fact to fiction does not mean he will immerse himself in a dry textbook. He won't. Your search for books will take you to authors who write about a subject because of their passion for it, not just because they are an expert in the field. Their enthusiasm will show in how they approach their topic, in their engaging style, not in their long list of credentials.
Don't give up.
Does the task appear daunting? Too time consuming? Too much potential for failure? Then let's pray about it. Helping children love to read impacts their lives not just for now, but the future as well.
Gracious Father, we bow before you as you are the Great I Am. You are everything good and powerful and merciful. Jesus our savior was once your very word. Please help us as we teach your children to find the tools we need. Help us not be discouraged or impatient. Thank you for going before us as we homeschool. We are not alone, for you lead us. We come to you because of Jesus. Amen.