Help! My son hates reading
I never imagined my child would be a non-reader, but why does it matter to me so much?
Maureen Corrigan's wonderful book Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading begins with the sentence "It's not that I don't like people. It's just that when I'm in the company of others - even my nearest and dearest - there always comes a moment when I'd rather be reading a book."
I feel exactly the same way and have done for as long as I can remember so it's natural that I want to pass my love of books and reading onto my kids, isn't it?
A couple of years ago, I was talking to a friend whose son, at the time, was six and not even remotely interested in reading. She was horrified. I remember her saying, plaintively, "I just never imagined a child of mine wouldn't love reading." I made sympathetic noises, I told her to give him time, he may well come around to loving books. But at the same time I was thinking "My children will love reading…"
But Harry is six and doesn't love reading. He loves being read to, but he has very little interest in reading himself. And I feel the same as my friend did - how is this possible? Are we doing something wrong? Is it the fault of the school? Are we reading the wrong books? Or is it just that some children aren't that interested in reading?
Shelley Whittaker's nine-year-old son, George, is another non-reader: "George's reading skills were pretty good, but as he's made the transition from being read to, to reading by himself, he's become less and less interested. I have shelves full of kids' books - fiction and non fiction - and from time to time try to suggest different genres. But he's just not interested."
But George is the youngest of four and Shelley's been through it with the others and so is more relaxed about it than I am. "I know he will develop a joy of reading at his own pace like his older siblings did."
I hope this is also the case for Harry, but I also wonder why it matters to me -–and to my friend – so much? Why can't I just let Harry discover a love of reading on his own? And what if he never does? My mum was a big reader, getting through five or more books a week. My dad only read about ten books in his entire life. He wasn't unintelligent, his friends didn't judge him for it. He lived a rich and full life. And yet…
I really want Harry to love reading.
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