Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Does a Non-Reader Look Like?

"I HATE READING," as he yelled at me while he stomped his feet up the stairs, each stomp coinciding with each word, "I," stomp, "HATE," stomp, "READING," stomp. 

"You NEVER will say anything to convince me that reading is good for me...NEVER!" 

Bedroom door slams shut, end scene.

Ryan is a self proclaimed non-reader. He tells me this everyday when I tell him to do his daily reading for homework. He has told me that no good as ever come from reading a book. He has told me that it's the biggest waste of time. He has told me that reading is anti-social.

What does a non-reader look like? Well, non-readers have routines. When my non-reader comes home from school, he rolls his eyes, and his shoulders will slouch, and he drags his feet as if each foot weighs a thousand pounds while he finds his book for his daily reading. He always tells me how much he hates reading and sometimes I even get awarded for being the meanest mom in the world. This is just one thing my non-reader does.

After this daily ritual, my non-reader goes to his favorite spot to read. He goes downstairs to the basement and he snuggles into his spot on the couch where he reads each day. 

My non-reader will come up the stairs half an hour later and say, "Mom, you want to hear what just happened in my book?" He will precede to tell me in detail about the characters, the plot, and what he thinks will happen next. 

My non-reader will reread a book that he "hates" to read and finish it in three days. He will then move on to the second book in the series.

My non-reader also asked me to order the third book in the series when he found out that it was coming out on February 5th.

My non-reader has a plan for his reading that he "hates."  When he finishes rereading this book,

He will read this book, 

and then this book,

and hopefully he will be done with them by the time February 5th arrives so he can read this book.

My non-reader keeps track of his reading. He can tell you how many books he has read since the beginning of the school year, he can tell you that he is on his third book for the month of January. He can tell you that his teacher has set a reading goal for the class to get to by the end of the school year and he checks his list every time he finishes another book.

School will let out soon. I will pick up Ryan and Molly in carline. They will tell me about their day and then have an afternoon snack. Then it will be time to read. I might be told I'm the meanest mom in the world...again. I may be told that no good ever came from reading...again. Or I might just hear I don't like to read like you do...again.  

I'll tell him that I accept my award. I'll tell him that he is entitled to his opinions about reading but it is part of his homework so he does have to do it. I once even told him to research and back-up his statement about "no good has ever come from reading" and we could debate the two sides. But what I try to do more than anything is listen. I listen to his excitement when he gets to a good part in a book that he didn't want to read. I listen to his opinions and point of views and acknowledge to him that he is a "hater" of reading. I listen when he tells me his reasons why he didn't like a book and I listen when he tells me why another book might just be "okay" even though I know he loved it.

Sometimes a kid just needs to save face and be a "cool non-reader."

Don't let the perfect, be the enemy of the good!

The Nealons have read 13 books this month.

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