Sitting Next to a Boy With a Book
My love for reading began in the first grade with Dr Seuss’s book, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I clearly remember working studiously to complete my seat-work, hoping I would be the first to get to the classroom library. I was afraid someone else would get there first and grab my favorite book before I could get my hands on it. That book was the hook, the beginning of a life full of stolen moments curled up engrossed in a good book.
I was beginning to lose all hope that my youngest child might ever experience the same love of reading that I had experienced at his age, and then…
The spark was ignited. Just this past week, my seven year old came home from school and dug out his copy of the book, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, we had purchased at the school book fair last year. He snuggled right up next to me and proceeded to read and share all the silly comics, flipping through the pages furiously. Now, you might say this is no big deal, but you weren’t at my house the night the first homework assignment came home on September 9. Connor had a major meltdown, and I have to admit, I did too. He froze up, pouted, and cried about the ten minute reading assignment on his homework sheet. “I hate reading.” “Why do I have to read?” “Why can’t I just play with my Legos?” This was no big surprise for me, you see, all summer long I had been trying to keep him reading. We took visits to the library-he just wanted to play on the computer. We browsed the local bookstore, and I had to constantly coax him away from the toy section, suggesting book after book until we finally found one that met his reluctant approval. Now, I know the importance of maintaining reading skills, but sheesh it really isn’t easy with a seven year old who just wants no parts of it. So, imagine my amazement when he curled up next to me with Jeff Kinney’s book. He read the entire first book in two days. I was so excited, I piled him into the car, drove to the Barnes and Noble, and purchased every book in the series. His favorite is the Do it Yourself Diary. It’s an interactive diary with surveys, comics, create your own comics and lots of lined pages for recording personal thoughts and stories. Right now, he has about ten pages left to read in the second book. I sure hope Jeff Kinney writes quickly.
When I asked Connor why he was suddenly so interested in a book we had purchased last year, he told me the boy he sits next to in class was reading it. All my efforts to encourage his reading were trumped because he sat next to a boy with a book.
If you would like to know more about Jeff Kinney’s popular series, visit the Wimpy Kid website. You can learn more about his books, watch his interviews, and see his tour schedule. A visit to Jeff Kinney’s blog is a glowing testimony to the major impact he has had on children, his ability to reach them by offering a fun and playful reading experience. I was so thrilled to see Connor’s excitement that I just had to visit and leave a comment thanking Kinney for creating books that engaged my own little reluctant reader.
Do you have a child that just doesn’t like reading? Be sure to visit the blog and check out the hundreds of comments from children, parents, and teachers. The energy of the readers leaps off the pages.