Friday, March 13, 2015

Not sure when this happened.

I don't know what I did wrong.  I thought I did everything right.  I started reading to her when she was about 6 weeks old-long before she could possibly understand what I was saying to her.  I read to her every night.  I took her to storytimes.  First in Arizona when she wasn't even big enough to crawl around and later to the toddler and then preschooler story times at the local library.  I have purchased over a hundred books for her.  First those sturdy little board books, later those expensive picture books and most recently chapter books.  I thought I did everything right.

How is it then, that my kid is not a reader? 

Lila does not like to read.  Up until a few months ago we did story time every night at bed time and I thought she would carry on that habit when she became old enough to read on her own.  But she hasn't.  She has traded in those last 20 or so minutes before it's lights out time for an extra 20 minutes of TV time.  Most nights it's not even something she wants to watch.  I will have Seinfeld on and that's perfectly ok with her. 

How could this have happened?  I worked at the freakin' library for 4 years of her life for Christ's sake! She always sees me with a book in my hand and I often read while she does her homework or plays after dinner. And yet those fill in lists the teacher sends home to chronicle the books she reads remain empty and sitting there piling up on her night stand. 

Last night I told her we were going to start a new nightly tradition.  I thought that if I made it sound special that she might be on board.  I told her that 15 minutes before bed time we were going to turn the TV off and we were each going to get a book and read together on the couch instead of watching TV.  She reacted as if I told her that I was going to strip her naked and pelt her with a bb gun.  She actually cried about it. 

How could this daughter of mine hate reading so much that it causes her to cry about spending just 15 minutes a day reading?  And remember, I only have her half of the week so it's not like it's even 15 minutes EVERY day! 

I worry that this is a first of many.  Up until now, she has happily and naively wanted to be just like me.  She wants to carry a purse because I carry a purse.  She wants to put on makeup with me because I am doing it.  She wants her hair to grow longer because I have let my hair grow out.  But here begins that divergence from her happy little parallel road.  Now she doesn't love reading just because I have made it clear that books are one of my favorite things.  I am still a little in shock.

I mean, I did everything right! We make monthly trips to the bookstore and she always pick something out but those books never seem to be read.  They are piling up on her bookshelf and collecting dust.

I dread the painful season of summer reading when she has to read like 6 books over a few months.  How am I going to force her to sit quietly and push through titles she doesn't like when she won't even spend 15 minutes a day reading a book she picked out? 

Anyone else have a kid who hates to read?


  1. My oldest hated it so much that she spent a year and a half trying to come up with a career she could aspire to that didn't require learning to read. It would take 3 hours to get through a page and a half of the Dick and Jane type books they assigned her for independent reading homework in 1st grade. Finally the day came that she actually completed a chapter book for school, and I decided to resort to flat out bribery. The whole summer between 2nd and 3rd grades I paid her $1 a book and let her stay up 1/2 an hour past her bedtime as long as she was reading for that half hour. Then I upped the ante and offered her $5 a book to read the Harry Potter series because she had loved the movies. Cost me about $300 before she was finally just reading for the sheer joy of it, but now the kid is even more of a reader than I am and can't find anything in her school's library that she hasn't already read. Right now, if reading is a struggle for your daughter it probably seems like it's not worth the effort when she can be entertained easily by TV, but it will get better. She's just got to find that first book that she can't put down. It might be something she's required to read, or it might be one you pick based on her interests and bribe her to read, but after that first one I'd bet she'll be off to the races.

  2. I may need to resort to bribery. If it will get her reading I will try anything.


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