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Friday, February 4, 2011

Books we don't want to read..................

We all have books we don't want to read.  Somehow the required reading from high school and college comes to mind when we think of this subject.  Unfortunately, many kids experience this and they get turned away from reading all together. 

My daughter has always loved reading.  I was working on my masters when she was born and was lucky enough to take a children's literature class with Kay Vandergrift at Rutgers University.  This required me to read many children's books and I read many of them with my daughter (she was just a few months old).  While taking that class, a YA class and Adult fiction class I rediscovered my love of fiction.  I had lost it somewhere in elementary school and only read fiction sporadically throughout college. 

Now my daughter is in a 2/3 GT class and is required to read quite a bit.  They read together as a class and also must do 2 fiction book reviews per month as well as a research project every few months.  There is a real difference in her when she is reading a book she enjoys opposed to reading a book that she must read for an assignment.  The book that is read together with her class is assigned to her.  She must read that book and complete literature questions.  She gets to pick the books she wants to review for her 2 fiction reviews per month.  I never want her to get discouraged about reading.  I have explained it as we all have to do some work that we don't want to do, but have fun picking the books that you love for your book reports.

I try to expose her to a mix of well known authors and pop fiction and let her choose.  My heart is so full when I see her in bed reading just one more chapter of that book that has really grabbed her.  Recently her school held a parent/child book club.  The book was chosen by the librarian and parents were invited to read with their children and then come discuss the book.  I read the first chapter out loud to our family and then my husband took the book and finished it right away.  I offered to read more to my daughter and also put the book by her bedside thinking that she might just grab it.  She had no interest.  I ended up finishing the book because I felt an obligation to the librarian at the school.  It turned out that I did really like the book and told my children about different parts that I found interesting.  However, in my daughters own little library by her bed, she chose the babysitting club books rather than Wing Nut by MJ Auch.  In my book, it was OK.  She was reading what she wanted. 

We went to the school book club meeting and I could tell that my daughter was uncomfortable that she had not read the book.  She did not know the characters and didn't have opinions on the questions that were being discussed.  I told her that it is OK to say that you did not finish the book.  I want kids to know that it is OK if you don't like a book.  We all know that feeling.  Sometimes if we hang in there with a book it gets better but sometimes it is not our style or we are just not in the mood.

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