Response to Kelly on son not liking to read

by | Reading Aloud | 1 comment

Letter from one of our readers in response to Kelly:

I thought I might post this to give you some encouragement. My oldest son, now a 21 year old college student, sounds just like your son. We homeschooled him all the way through high school and, even at his graduation, I felt that I had “failed” him in the area of love of reading.

When he was younger, he was taught to read well and had excellent comprehension. He read his Bible willingly and we had no unusual discipline problems with school work. Read-aloud and books-on-tape were well received. But he never read for pleasure, EVER. I had despaired of him ever learning to love reading the way I do. Reading is like breathing to me, and I had so wanted to share this with him, and when he was 12 (14, 17) it looked like it would never happen.

Well, you have to work with what you have, and even if he didn’t enjoy it, he had assigned reading. I didn’t give him as many books as the ‘love to read” kids, but there are some things a well-educated person simply needs to read. I told him that some things just need to be done because they need to be done and liking/not liking it was not an issue (like doing dishes!). Along the way, I kept reading, kept talking about what I was reading (without pushing motherly-guilt onto him), kept a large variety of materials available, kept doing books-on-tape, etc. So, the environment was reader-friendly. One of the other things that I did was to get excellent movies of the books I wanted him to be familiar with, and we watched them as a family. I couldn’t help that at the end the same thing always popped out of my mouth, ” Well, that was a good movie…but the book is better.” No guilt, just my honest opinion.

So, what was the result? Somewhere around 19 years, he just started inhaling books – and this is while he’s in college and working too. I asked him what happened, and his answer was that our home was filled with good books and he got curious. Also, he finally got to wondering if the book really was better than the movie. Finding the answer to be yes, he just kept on reading. He’s now read everything I ever had hoped that he would, and gone on to things that we can read and discuss together – one of the many joys of having adult children with you.

I also asked him if he thought my decision to assign a moderate amount of reading – and insisting that it be read- was a good one. Answer – yes – and that I could have assigned a little more without burdening him. He didn’t like it, but it was good for him.

So, my advice to you is to be kind to yourself and don’t eat yourself up with guilt (like I did). He might not like to read – but it won’t kill him. Maybe, someday he’ll even enjoy it.

Blessing to you!
Denna Christine Flickner

1 Comment

  1. Denna Flickner

    An update: this is an old post of mine, this son is now 26…still inhaling books He still thinks I chould have assigned him more reading. He considers himself a well-educated blue collar kind of guy – so, folks, don’t be thinking just because your kid isn’t interested in going to med school that he shouldn’t be reading the ‘good stuff’. It’s ‘good stuff’ *because* everyone should read it. More Blessings! Denna


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