Kid Chronicles – Reading

Many of you know my struggles with getting Munch to read. This soon to be 9 year old tries me when it comes to parenting. Some days he is the most lovable kid in the world. Other days he wants to act like he just got dropped in my house by his alien family and he wants to go home.

One main struggle we have is reading. Munch has to read in both French and in English. He hates it. Sometimes he’s compliant. Other times he is outright dismissive to what he needs to do. It bothers me because I love to read. I read to him when he was in my womb. I read to him when he was young. He knows how to read, but chooses to not do it.

I’ve tried everything. Buying chapter books and baby books. Going to the local library and having him pick out books that he likes. At his last school he always wanted to order from the book fair. No problem. Get what you want.

When they would arrive I would be excited. I would say “Which one do you want to read first?” He would pick a book and then we would lay in my bed and he would read it out loud. Now, he doesn’t want to read it out loud and will tell me that he’s reading it in his head. Okay, no problem. What is the book about?

Crickets.

Ugh! I’m struggling. I read his books before him to make sure that what he’s reading and writing for reports is both accurate and true. But, it’s nerve wracking.

The irony is that when he watches videos on Netflix or Hulu he watches them in closed caption so that he can read the words on the bottom of the screens. When I asked him why? He said “I like it”. Then you can read a book.

Any suggestions on how we can improve his desire to read?

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31 thoughts on “Kid Chronicles – Reading

  1. It’s a risk and mind you I never had kids but you could just tell him he CAN’T read anything besides schoolwork. No novels, no comics, no superheros just his assignments.

    Doubt it will work but I was contrary at 9 and that seemed to be about the age all my nieces, nephews, and god children started to act up. The more an adult showed an interest in the subject…the less “they” would like it. Of course it just maybe a reaction to the having to read in two languages. Does he do subtitles in French? ~~dru~~

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    1. Nope. He does them in English. Isn’t that hilarious? He doesn’t want people to know that he speaks French. Unless you speak to him fluently in French he will just ignore you and never say anything. He’s almost 9 and that seems to be the age. I’ll ask him to change the subtitles to French to see if that will help him.

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  2. I deal with the same thing. My child can play games and watch Netflix all day…as soon as I say read….the waterworks begin..or the complaints of a headache start. Obe day i told him to read amd i wouldn’t time time him(the 20 minute school requirement) and he read for over an hour and said he enjoyed it. Some days they’re in the mood, other days not so much. Teachers say it doesn’t matter what they read, as long as they read. Try to find a Sonic Comic or whatever new character he’s into now. See if that will spark an interest. My son love the Captain Underpants books, and now Dogman. They are funny books about the adventures of 2 little boys in the 4th grade.

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  3. Try to find books on topics that he’s really into. Star Wars, Pokemon, whatever. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series’ we’re how we got our boys reading on their own. Funny, with some visuals sprinkled in. Once he finds what strikes a chord with him, he’ll take off. Boys are hard-headed though. Just keep encouraging it with him. 😃

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    1. Thank you. Right now he’s interested in Alvin and The Chipmunks and Batman. But, I will definitely try to find books for those things. I even gave him a book on creating his own comics and bought the comic strips since he’s such a great artist. He was interested in it for all of about 2 days. Ugh!

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      1. I hear ya’. I’ve found that sorta acting the scenes out, with dramatic inflection and impressions, keeps them engaged and encourages them to delve into their imagination, see that reading is like transporting themselves into new worlds, and, hopefully, makes them look forward to subsequent chapters and adventures. My boys are certainly still a work in progress, but it’s gotten better and better. 😃

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  4. I know this may not be what you want to hear but try your hardest and say nothing about reading. This is reverse psychology, the thing with children is the more you talk the more they ignore you. So try and read as you normally do and try not to pressure him if you can. Also you can try audio if he is not interested now in reading.

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  5. I totally understand where you are and where you are coming from. But please make room for who he is and appreciate the phase he’s at presently. I have 3 children and I try to work with them and go along with their timing. What I learned after i had my 3rd child is that, some parents try too hard to fit their kids around their own likes and dislikes and never make room for their kids likes and dislikes. I know it’s not easy when we are trying our best to do what we feel is best for them but then we forget what is best for us may not be best for them. So if you can appreciate that he doesn’t enjoy reading now and make room and wait for when he feels like it, it may not necessarily be when you want him to. But as long as he can read generally it may not be an incentive for him to read as a hobby maybe. Your doing great be easy on yourself ❤❤😚

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  6. It’s hard (really hard!) to accept that my son doesn’t like reading. Or that he doesn’t love it enough to actively seek out books. Or that he looks like he’s being tortured if I say we’re having “family” reading time where everyone grabs a book.
    I do know he reads to go to sleep — sometimes it’s Calvin & Hobbes, sometimes it’s a graphic novel, but he’s loving the based-on-real-life fiction about a spy plane that crashed during WWII. As he gets older he may fall in love with topics (T was on a real Titanic kick for a while) and it helps if you have books lying around that include them.
    My only other question would be how are you spending your evening hours? Say, the last hour before bedtime. I’m guilty of letting the kids watch tv too long when I’m tired, but the house rule is tech off by 7pm, tv off by 8. That gives them an hour to wind down; sometimes they’ll crawl into a book. 🙂

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    1. I never tried that. I usually get him home by 6:15. Finish homework, eat dinner, review homework, bad and then it’s almost 9 pm and I’m asking for him to read 20 minutes and then he can watch TV with timer on. I can definitely try reading a book before bed and cutting TV time to before the book.

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  7. Have you tried taking him to a comic book store and letting him pick out half-a-dozen comic books (maybe even waiting outside while he looks around alone for 15 minutes)? My husband, who is a theoretical physicist, did not enjoy reading as a student, but he was hooked on comic books. He learned complex ideas, big words, strong human values, and how to use his imagination through reading comic books. Today, he is a ravenous reader–everything from the classics to mysteries and science fiction, to history and politics, to books about physics and science. He has helped kids learn to read by encouraging them to read comic books. Reading comics like The Avengers, Thor, Captain America–and then watching those current movies are a great basis for discussion of values and current events. Just a thought….

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    1. I haven’t. I will definitely try that. Thank you so much for the suggestion. I will do that in the next couple of weeks. Especially since he’s discovered Batman and that’s his new favorite super hero

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  8. hehe not to discount your struggles, but Munch sounds like a character! I cracked up reading that he puts the captions on Netflix! I have worked with kids and it’s crazy how some just love reading while it’s like pulling teeth with others!

    I suggest making a game of it. If he reads a book a day or a book a week, maybe he can get an hour more of Netflix time. Or challenge him to reading as many books as possible in a month. Maybe the prize cold be a day of living by his rules for a day or skipping chore he doesn’t like.

    That’s all I got, sis. Good luck to you 😉

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  9. Wow, sis. All four of my children read voraciously as did Loser. I, however have never read but one book and that was under duress.
    I read criticisms all the time about how you can’t be intelligent if you don’t read books….how you can’t be a good writer if you don’t read books….how you will be completely void of knowledge if you don’t read books.
    Munch may be auditory, meaning that things “register” more from hearing them rather than reading about them…or he may just be a late bloomer. My oldest was well into her twenties before she ever started reading.
    If you try to force him, you will most likely encounter resistance and he might resent books and the stories they have to tell.
    I don’t know what my problem is….I have never met another person who didn’t read and I don’t know why the very idea makes me shudder. Sigh.

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  10. Hey, so I read this and a little thing caught my eye: the fact that he used to love to read with you, and he knows how to read, maybe even *prefers* to read sometime (per your note about closed captioning), but he doesn’t want to read OUT LOUD.

    I’m wondering if something else is going on? Like maybe he is forced to read aloud at school and maybe there was a moment of embarrassment or something that has stifled his voice? In English OR French? This just seems like an age where a voice can be silenced because of something like a rogue snicker in class… Just a thought. Maybe it’s not about lack of love for reading (because it seems to me like he does?) but lack of love for SCHOOL reading and reading OUT LOUD.

    Maybe you could try to get him to read in a circumstance where he’ll have to practice but he is sure to get praise after he’s done? Like maybe he could do one of the readings during Church service?

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    1. They don’t have readings during church. I’m Baptist. But, they do have his age group participate in the Easter Program and he likes public speaking. He always volunteers to give a speech. That’s what is surprising. However, I may try going back to the bed and laying there and having him read out loud to me at night. Maybe he likes that more than just sitting there reading a book. He never said anything, but I am dying for suggestions.

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  11. My kids can’t read very well yet. So I don’t have a first-hand experience in getting kids to be interested in books. But then, how about bringing in a reward system? Say, for every book you read, you get so and so?

    Secondly, I like the way Ben Carson’s mum handled a similar issue with her boys, as told by Ben himself in his book, Think Big. Even Munch will like that book if he hasn’t read it already.

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  12. That is a difficult one. I hear you, as reading is just so important. The kids seem to have minds of their own lately, so I really hope you come right. Hopefully Munch can find something he is interested in and it will just happen.

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  13. The one thing that I know that works for my daughter is that we get away from the “approved list of ____ Grade books”. We do kind of an “emergent curriculum” at our house. We notice things that Mary says or mentions that she likes or wants to do and learn about and we find those age appropriate books. She usually really gets into them because she is learning about the things that she loves. There are REQUIRED books that she needs to read, but if they become really hard for her to get through, I’ll read some of it out loud too (with voices and EVERYTHING! You’d be surprised how much 9 year old’s still love that!)

    Another thing that one of her teachers last year told us was that sometimes, the best thing to keep kids focused (especially with reading) is to give them a distraction. i KNOW! Sounds crazy! The teacher would put fuzzy little square rugs on the floor under the kids seats and let them take their shoes off and and rub their feet on the fuzz. She would also fill balloons with flower and give them “stress balls”. Bean bag chairs with overstuffed bears. If their hands are busy, their minds wont wander and they can focus better. We implemented it at home and got Mary a faw things to keep her a little “busy” while doing work and reading. It actualyl works….might be worth a try!

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