Once Upon a Time...
In this last installment we will speak to the inevitability of your child no longer finding interest in having you read directly to or with them. Each child differs, so there is no set time when this will occur – but you’ll know! What happens now?
It’s rather simple. First, start with the novels that are currently being assigned in class. Re-acquaint yourself with them, as many will be among those you may have read as a child. Now, re-read them and take the opportunity to discuss the setting, themes, and characters with your child. This can be done by acquiring a second copy, or simply staying up with the current section being read after your child goes to bed. One caution here… There may be resistance when you say, “Let’s sit down and talk about the book/novel you are reading in class”. Instead, drop an occasional thought, or make it casual dinner table conversation so that when you ask how school went today, something more substantial can be discussed beyond the routine.
Next, become acutely aware of what they are picking up on their own, get into them as well, and do the same thing. This has two very positive outcomes, particularly in the middle school and high school years. It continues a connectedness with your child that otherwise may be on the wane, and more importantly provides the opportunity to judge the merits of what your child is reading.
Here is a classic example of the latter. Ten and eleven year old girls have gotten in to a series of books – Pretty Little Liars. This collection looks harmless enough on the outside, but in reality is quite the opposite on the inside. Parents who quite innocently purchased books in the series for their daughters – “they asked for them” – were shocked when they came to realize that the content was clearly juxtaposed to the values they were trying to instill in their young daughters.
The foregoing is truly one of the easiest things to do with our children. So, don’t stop when they no longer want to climb on your lap, or sit near you to read. It can be a joy, and the benefits are boundless.