I was a shy kid (don’t listen to the sniggers of people who know me now, my Mom will back me up here) and always had my nose in a book.  Screens were not the competition, with the exception of Saturday morning cartoons.  My favorite times next to Christmas morning were trips were to the tiny town library, visiting my 2nd grade teacher to borrow from her library, and library time at school.  So it was an unpleasant shocker when my kids preferred screens to anything, and reading was a chore I had to force them to do before they got screens. Worse, the books I remember reading when I was a kid like ‘A Little Princess’ were not going to fly with nine-year-old boys.  In the world of education, this is called being a reluctant reader.  One of my sons even refused to read fiction at school, declaring it as useless.  The other had terrible spelling.  Sleeves were rolled up at this point, and I went back to what had been suspended for a year or so in the busy-ness of life (yes I take liberties with English) – reading out loud to my kids.  I started with the Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, read what my boys said their friends were reading, downloaded audiobooks from the library for road trips, and got my kids into series of books so they were hooked into what comes next.  We’re now off to the races with reading, spelling and vocabulary are vastly improving, and my kids read for at least an hour at bedtime.  The (English) library that is emerging on this site reflect my favorites.  Feel free to browse and suggest additions.

My advice to parents who despair that their kids are not readers – read to them at bedtime – they want to delay bedtime any way they can get away with anyway, will beg for the whole chapter, and you get to have planned quality time with your kids.  The reasons you don’t are all in your head – they’re going to say they are too old for this, I’m too tired at the end of the day, they won’t listen to me reading to them, this will be so booooring for me.  Trust me a little, do it for seven days in a row, then you can call me a dirty rotten liar, you hated every minute of it, and your kids aren’t even speaking to you now.

You may be thinking at this point – how does this apply to me?  I thought this was a language learning website.  Think of this as backstory.  Why I do what I do. We’re just getting to know one another.  Forget what you know, or think you know, about me and about language learning.  Suspend your disbelief a little longer.  You may not be a parent, but I bet you’ve read Harry Potter.  Or if you haven’t, you should.  The why you should will be explained in due course.  Start with the first book, even if you have read it before.  Start tonight. Seriously.

The bonus – whether you are a parent or not – you get to read great modern literature that wasn’t even written when you were a kid, and there are some great authors out there that have written entertaining stories for any age.  It takes about an hour to read a chapter from Harry Potter aloud, so plan accordingly.  Or get the audio book from your library or amazon and listen to it in the car on your way to work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *