I grew up on books. When I was in high school, I even volunteered at the local public library when I wasn’t working (I didn’t spend much time on schoolwork, truth be told). They didn’t have any budget to pay me, but as the person who unpacked the boxes from the publishers, working at the library gave me first dibs on incoming titles, which was terrific. My Dad’s a voracious reader too, often a book a day or more partially as a way to fill the time and partially because it’s darn good entertainment and there are thousands of great works.
I read a lot online nowadays, but still have at least one print book that I’m working through. At this moment, I’m reading one book that’s in my car, another on my Kindle, and two audio books, one on the iPod that’s in my gym bag (I go to the gym every day) and one that’s on CD in my car. Titles, in order: Blackout, by Connie Willis, Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre, The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. Quite the mix.
It’s no surprise that my children are all readers too therefore. My 17yo daughter is always reading a book and her latest acquisition will be The Maze Runner (it’s poised to be released as a movie which caught her attention), while my 14yo son loves spy novels and police procedurals, especially Lee Child books. He’s a big Jack Reacher fan.
And my little one, 10yo, has been enjoying the school reading Tales, Trails and Tommyknockers, a book about the mythic stories and legends of Colorado history. When she’s not reading that she likes Dork Diaries and the Archie comics, all of which are surreptitiously passed around…
Why do I let my teen son read aggressive, violent books? His Mom asks me that same question.
My answer has always been because he’s reading!
I talk with other parents and none of the other boys in his 8th grade class read books that aren’t assigned by the teacher, not even books about their favorite sports, movies, or video games. None. Now they all enjoy playing games, many are sports fans, and all watch movies and TV, but none of them read.
And that makes me sad, actually. My childhood was greatly enhanced by literature great and trite, and I can still remember some of my favorite books, including Frank Herbert’s brilliant book Dune, which I read at least four times while in high school. It helped me imagine that there was a greater destiny for me than just high school grunt. 🙂
I truly feel blessed that my children all read and know it’s a blessing for them. I don’t know how to motivate other children to read, and I find it sad when we all head to a bookstore like Bookworm (a favorite local used bookstore) or The Tattered Cover (best indie bookstore in Denver) and these other children are bored and eager to leave, while mine are piling up titles they hope I’ll purchase for them.
And I always do.
How about you? Are your children readers, and if so, how’d ya do it and what advice do you have to other parents whose children are completely uninterested in the printed word?