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How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?
In the book Gifted Hands by brilliant surgeon Ben Carson, one of the things that turned his life around was his mother’s requirement that he and his brother read books and write book reports for her. That approach worked with him, but I have been afraid to try it. My children don’t need to “turn their lives around,” but they would gain so much from reading and I think they would enjoy it so much if they would just stop telling themselves, “I just don’t like to read.”
Well, I don’t have kids and I’ve always been a reader, so I don’t have any practical advice to offer on this. I think every person is different though. I’m far too stubborn to respond to required book reports. In fact, I hated almost everything I had to read for school. And I think that offering rewards would make reading seem like a chore. Those types of things obviously work for some people though.
My husband wasn’t really a reader when we met. He’d read a few books by Robin Cook and enjoyed them, but he never made time for reading. I went out on a limb and bought him The Alienist by Caleb Carr. He loved it! He’s still not a voracious reader, but he always has one book on his nightstand that he’s working on. For him, it was just a matter of finding the kinds of books that he enjoyed.
So that’s what I’m getting at. I don’t know how you could get reluctant readers to pick up a book in the first place, but I think I would ask them to keep trying until you find the types of books they enjoy. I’ve become convinced that there has to be a genre out there for everyone. It’s just a matter of finding it.
What do you think? You can share your answers here and at Booking Through Thursday.