Child reading books in the summer
June 27, 2014 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Hi, My 10 year old girl loves to read. When she gets started, she loves it, but it's the "getting her started" that I have a problem with.

At school, they had mandatory reading for 20 minutes, so that was not a problem during the school year. She did it and she liked it.

Now that it is summer, she wants to watch t.v. which I'm very against. Our family keeps t.v. watching down to a limit, and we only allow shows that are appropriate for a 10 year old. But with summer, she keeps asking for more time, wanting more t.v. She plays outside and has swim lessons, etc., but when she has down time, she does not tend to go get a book, instead she begs me for t.v.

So I had this bright idea of saying to her.......ok, if you read 15 minutes to me, you can watch a half an hour show. She then reads to me, enjoys it, and then picks either a Martha Speaks show or a Brady Bunch to watch. But then throughout the day, she asks to do it again and again and again. So then I had the bright idea of telling her, "Ok, you can read to me two times in a day (that equals one hour of t.v.) and then if you want to read more, go ahead and read quietly to yourself (but no T.V). Well, she doesn't want to do that. She wants to read out loud to me and she wants her reward.

I guess what my problem is...........I feel like I'm creating a child that won't like reading later in life, or feels like she HAS to do it, to get something else she likes.

On earlier posts I've had here, people have told me to not be so let her read when she wants to, and let her read the kinds of books she wants to. And the thing is, once she starts, she loves it. But it seems she will never just pick a book up and read it quietly. I do that all the time. For one thing, I love to read quietly. For a second thing, I think it's a great example to show her. But she insists on reading out loud to me, which is fine. But now I'm mad at myself because, when I wasn't seeing her pick a book up at all this summer, I made this whole thing where TV becomes a prize afterwards, and now I don't know if I can or should say we don't do that anymore.

Everybody always says a child has to find their own passion in books and I should stay out of it.

Did I mess everything up?

thanks in advance
posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Education (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does she like being read to as well as reading aloud? Because audiobooks might be a solution - she could listen to a story while drawing or doing something else kinesthetic, rather than just sitting quietly. Unless you are specifically wanting her to keep up her reading skills instead of general exposure to literature, in which case, never mind.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:41 AM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't think you have messed everything up. I'm more relaxed about TV. A lot of successful people watched a lot of TV in their youth. I also don't use rewards. Maybe I'm lazy but I don't think they work in the long run.

What about family reading hour? After dinner, read together quietly. My family did this for a while and nobody felt forced. We let our kids pick anything they wanted to read -- Sports Illustrated, a novel, whatever.
posted by Fairchild at 9:44 AM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

You can try having a quiet reading together time where you each read your own books.

You might also want to look into your local library's kid's programs. Summer Reading often has activities geared towards kids her age--some focusing on the reading itself and some just as fun family activities in the library. She might be more open to reading on her own if she has further positive interactions with readers her own age.
posted by carrioncomfort at 9:46 AM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

What are you doing while she's supposed to be reading to herself? Are you also reading then, or are you online or doing household tasks? Sitting and reading at home when you have more-fun activities just waiting right in front of you is hard. Having to do it while the grownups are having more fun doing something else (and I really think young kids somehow think that grownups enjoy washing dishes, vacuuming, etc since we choose to do them and they don't) is hard and feels unfair.

If you're not willing/able to also read at that time, then get her out of the house - go to a park, or a library, or the beach, or a museum you think you'll enjoy, or even the grocery store - and "let" her bring a book along for "if" she gets bored. In my experience, when reading is more fun than whatever the thing is they're supposed to be doing, kids read.
posted by Mchelly at 9:46 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure about rewards. But if you wanted to use a reward system, maybe make getting a new book a prize for something else? Maybe she could somehow earn a trip to a bookstore or the library?

I wonder if it would be useful to try to make reading itself seem like a more interesting activity. Maybe the library has a summer reading program for her age group that would present reading as an inherently exciting activity? Maybe create a fun space for her to read? Maybe read together at the park?

I also wonder if your daughter needs help figuring out to structure her own down time. Maybe help her create a list of activities she could do when she has downtime to give her a greater sense of authority over how she uses her time while still maintaining appropriate boundaries? Television could be excluded from the list while reading could be included.
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 9:46 AM on June 27, 2014

Also, it sounds to me lik eyour daughter likes to combine reading and social activities. Would it be possible to help her start some type of summer reading group or club?
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 9:49 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Why not make it part of your daily routine? Like 3-4 is outside playtime, 4-4:30 is reading time, 4:30-5:30 is TV time, 5:30 is dinner (or whatever). And agreed that maybe reading yourself along-side her during read-time would be encouraging.

The 10 year old that I nanny is expected to get ready for bed, then read in bed for 15-30 minutes, then be in bed by a certain time. It works well to make it routine and he enjoys it because it also means he doesn't have to actually go to sleep right away.
posted by greta simone at 10:08 AM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

While this books is geared toward teachers, you might get some ideas from Reading in the Wild, which is all about how to develop lifelong reading habits in children.
posted by megancita at 10:10 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was a book-loving child (though I had no choice, we had no tv;-) and it sounds to me like the whole TV connection, and possibly also the reading aloud connection, will fade out naturally if she gets really excited to read a new book before she starts, or reads the types of books she just can't put down. How are the books she reads being chosen? Have you tried getting her into a series where each book (or better yet, each chapter) has a cliff-hanger ending, so she'll really want to keep reading? I think there's nothing special about kids who love reading all the time, it's just that they really want to know what happens next!

Or maybe there are some age-appropriate BookTubers she could watch, which would be sort of like watching TV but also get her interested in new titles? I also like ASlackerPestersMums's book club idea.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:12 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know if I've ever responded to any of your previous questions, but...let me tell you about my younger brother.

He was a lot like your daughter; didn't mind reading once he got going, but it was the getting him going that was the hard part. During his entire stint in junior high and high school, the only things he read for pleasure were Sports Illustrated and a biography of Bob Marley.

But my parents did nothing, even though it probably killed them. They may have had a gentle word with him once or twice, but otherwise they stayed out of it; they funded his SI subscription since it was something he would read, and as long as his grades stayed up, it wasn't their business to monitor the quality or frequency of his pleasure reading, they figured; because reading for pleasure is supposed to be pleasurable as opposed to being an obligation. So they bit their tongues when he went to watch TV again and again, and just trusted and had faith that it would be a phase he'd outgrow.

Within two months of his going away to college, he suddenly started reading like a fiend; he asked for books for Christmas that year, and then rocketed through those and started finding more books and the Christmas after that he started giving other books as presents, with the comment that "this is something I read, I thought you'd like it!"

The moral being: the best way to make sure a kid learns to associate reading with pleasure is to give them the freedom to choose when reading would please them. Putting a condition on it like that only makes it feel like homework, and she gets enough of that from school. It may take a lot of gritting-of-teeth on your part, but if you back off altogether aside from a couple general observations that it'd be cool if she read something at some point, she should eventually come around.

Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:14 AM on June 27, 2014 [12 favorites]

What books does she have? How often are you going to the library? Is she choosing her books herself, or are you mostly picking out books for her? I mean, you've said you know to let her read the kinds of books she likes, but how much do you actually know about that? Is her reading material actually skill-appropriate? Like, how long is the stuff she's reading? "Loves it" seems to be an extreme way of phrasing this if she's content with reading a book for 15 minutes at a time, out loud or not, and then putting it down again without finding out what's going to happen next. It sounds to me like she's got the technical capabilities but she's just not that into whatever books she's got. You say you're trying to give her what she likes, but are you sure you've found it?

Also, I'm not positive, but generally, I'm just thinking--isn't Martha Speaks a little young for a 10-year-old? I mean, if she loves it, great, but it just made me think, make sure that her reading material is not skewing younger than her interests/abilities really warrant. Main characters in both TV and literature for younger audiences tend to be a few years older than the intended audience.

And I'd skip the reading-out-loud thing in favor of having her read quietly and then come back and talk to you about what she's read, because generally that's a good way to help her figure out what she's interested in and what she's looking for.
posted by Sequence at 10:19 AM on June 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Your daughter is awesome. She's just perfectly demonstrated how rewarding behavior can have a paradoxical effect.

So yes, cut out the TV rewards. In fact, I'd be inclined just to let her binge on TV, because you've made it this elicit, forbidden fruit and it sounds like she is busy, active, and happy and maybe she needs to unwind a little. But also maybe take her to a bookstore and say something like "we're going to pick out some reading material for the rest of the summer. You have twenty-five dollars and can get whatever you want." And she might be like, "Even this history of the The Brady Bunch?" And you'll nod and say "yes, even that." And then next week you take her to the library for a few hours because you want to look something up and you just leave her in the tween section of the children's room and come back an hour later, that sort of thing.

I say this as a child who both watched a ton of TV and read a ton of books and now writes them. The best thing you can do is to be super duper casual and non-judgey about whatever stories she likes, tv included.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:37 AM on June 27, 2014 [20 favorites]

I don't think you messed anything up. I think the reading as a family thing is a great idea, if it works - if she doesn't stubbornly refuse and just sit there silently, like one of my kids would have. Maybe talk about what you all read, afterward, or make it a dinner topic. When my youngest started reading, he always wanted to talk about it afterward, "And THEN, this guy did the coolest thing, and THEN, and THEN..." and I loved seeing him get so animated about it. It's also a good way to see that they're taking in the words, and not just hurrying through.

But a love of reading is, I think, a tough thing to want from your kids, unless it comes naturally to them. Maybe it will. Maybe it won't. It's a positive sign that she enjoys it once she's hooked. Maybe she just needs to find the right books, the ones with the great opening sentences, the ones that immediately reel her in. I used to see it as a challenge, and try and try to find the right book for my kids, and when I finally gave up, they went off and read books on their own (to varying degrees). But I have stubborn kids.

I watched TV obsessively as a kid - but I didn't have a TV in my room until I was sixteen. I also had trouble falling asleep. As a result, I would also read obsessively. Every night, curled up with a book until I could sleep. My brother, sister, and parents also all read frequently. We talked a lot about this book or that author, or why we liked this series better than that one. Making it a conversation helped a lot - I was the youngest, and it was exciting when I could add my voice to the typically more grown up conversation. There were books that pulled me in so much I didn't watch TV, and sometimes TV that pulled me out of a book. They were all just stories, to me.

I still read quite a lot, and I'm finding I watch TV less. But I'm old. She's not. Give her time, help her find books (if she's willing), get her talking about what tales she loves (if you don't already), what characters she relates to, whether it made her laugh, how she felt about the ending, etc. That might make the stories more real to her.
posted by routergirl at 10:44 AM on June 27, 2014

".I feel like I'm creating a child that won't like reading later in life, or feels like she HAS to do it, to get something else she likes. "
She's going to be who she is, and do what she likes. My husband and I are big readers, can't go to the bathroom without reading material. My daughter likes visuals--not as interested in reading. Turning reading into a chore or something to be endured will not lead her to enjoy reading.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:53 AM on June 27, 2014

I think you're right to realize that bribing kids to read through a reward like TV time reinforces the idea that reading is like doing chores or eating your vegetables, and TV is the delicious dessert. However, if you made an agreement for the summer that she gets up to an hour of extra TV a day for reading for 1/2 hour, I wouldn't back out of the agreement, and I don't think you've "messed everything up" by trying that out.

It might be more productive, however, to suggest she read on her own and then spend a few minutes asking her questions about what she read, as that seems like a more age-appropriate skill and also more likely to encourage her to engage with what she's reading rather than view it as a mechanical exercise.

Also, don't fall into the trap of thinking that fiction books, or indeed books period, are the only thing that counts as reading. She might find more self-motivation to pick up non-fiction reading materials that tie into her interests: monthly magazines, cookbooks, crafting books, books on developing drawing or painting skills, graphic novels associated with TV shows or movie franchises she likes, that kind of thing.
posted by drlith at 10:54 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think that the more pressure you place on someone to do something For Moral Reasons the harder it can become for them to actually do it. Obviously, reading has become pretty loaded - probably far more loaded than you would ever feel it to be - at your house. It seems like a prime place for a power struggle, and power struggles can be totally unconscious. (There were lots of things I just Did Not Want because there was so much family pressure to value them, for instance, and my father still has a lot of trouble liking something if he feels pressured to do so - but I never thought of it consciously that way, just felt that I didn't want whatever it was.)

I think that we assume reading is not only valuable but virtuous. (And I think reading is both valuable and virtuous! So sue me!) But that ends up creating a climate around reading that maybe interferes with reading, since it brings in everyone's anxieties about value and virtue.

Especially if your kid is at all anxious or perfectionist or easily distracted, it may feel like there's just too much riding on getting in to a book - unconscious fear of failure, unconscious power struggle stuff.

If this were me, I think I'd concentrate on chilling out. I like the idea of going to the library and leaving her to look at books; I like the idea of giving her a book budget and spending a lot of time looking around a book store. I also like the idea of just letting her watch herself out. A lot of TV gets pretty boring after a while, especially if you're just watching because it's a cheap thrill. (I went through some big TV phases as a kid, and I have always been a passionate reader...but there was one winter break when I was 13 where I think I literally watched TV all afternoon every afternoon, right from about 1pm until dinner.)

Also, are you modeling TV-watching as a fun activity? My parents don't really watch TV, so the TV was never on in the background, we didn't watch TV in the evenings (with very rare exception - my parents really liked the late seventies Muppets, for example, and I think they watched the PBS Nicholas Nicolby) and my parents never discussed television. If you're a total Mad Men junkie, or whatever, that's coming through. If you spend a lot of your culture time on serious TV watching, that's what your kid is picking up. I got, very clearly and very quickly, that sustained television-watching was just not something that grown-ups did.

And on another note - why not watch some movies or TV with your daughter as a mother-daughter activity? That sounds counter-intuitive, but my mother and I watched a nature series together when I was about eleven or twelve and that was fun. It also created the sense that you watched TV for something - whether that was "I want to see these neat puppets" or "ooh, look, tiny frogs!" - not just because you don't have any other way to occupy your mind.
posted by Frowner at 10:56 AM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

instead she begs me for t.v.

I think you need to set a hard and fast TV deadline and stop using it as a reward. Apart from the fact that there's nothing as annoying as a constantly whining child, if you use it as a reward then she's going to perceive it as "better" than other activities.

Instead pick a few shows she's allowed to watch for the rest of the summer, plus say one movie a week or whatever works for you and never judge her for it or change your mind and allow more. If she starts whining or bargaining cut her off immediately. It'll be easier on everyone. if she's left to her own devices to entertain herself a couple extra hours per day she might read, or she might play with legos but as she gets older she might read more.
posted by fshgrl at 10:57 AM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

She just might not be super-hugely into reading, and that's a thing you can't force her, trick her, or persuade her to be. It is more important, I'd say (as someone who works in literary education, but who is not a teacher or any other authority at that level), for her to have the SKILL of reading for comprehension, and no direct RESISTANCE to reading for enjoyment, than for her to seek it out organically at this age.

If you are more distressed about her desire for TV than about her lack of desire for reading (it's not totally clear) then yes, you need to stop making TV a reward and make it a limited neutral.

On the flipside, though... have you considered leaving some Calvin and Hobbes books around? Even my nonreader brothers and cousins could never resist "Scientific Progress Goes Boink." Bonus: you'll enjoy it as much as she would.
posted by like_a_friend at 11:03 AM on June 27, 2014

(For what it's worth, I was an obsessive reader at your daughter's age and well past it, but as an adult I'm typically just barely able to get through the fiction section of the New Yorker twice a month. Then, two years ago, I went on a book-reading binge after a breakup and read 7 or 8 major classics over a long summer...what I'm saying is, even for people who love books pretty uncomplicatedly, this sort of thing ebbs and flows.)
posted by like_a_friend at 11:06 AM on June 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

You could just kill the television, that's what I did when my kids wanted to watch it too often. By the way, they're all grown and they are all very grateful that I did that.
posted by mareli at 11:11 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

What about choosing books that have movies that go along with them. Rohl Dahl comes to mind (I had advanced ESL students about her age and having a movie based on a book was one of my criteria for choosing reading material). Maybe see if you can figure out where the books and movies differ. You don't have to watch the movie in one go, you can break it out into four 1/2 hour periods (probably less).
posted by kathrynm at 11:13 AM on June 27, 2014

I read everything that wasn't nailed down from the age of 6 on. Books were everywhere and we read all the time. We'd all be hanging around, reading books and maybe listening to music.

TV was only on when there was something worth watching, it being the late sixties, and there being only 3 channels, it wasn't often.

When we lived in Phoenix in the seventies, we didn't get reception, so unless a rocket was going to the moon, we read.

So...TV needs to take a break during the summer. Everyone needs to read books. Totally fun books, great books, engaging books.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:21 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lots and lots of great ideas here! So I will just give another option since all the others are great too.

I would have her read for half an hour earlier in the day and then have a reward of tv much later in the day. So its not a slot machine scenario whenever she feels like watching tv.

Other ideas are audio books.... she can have quiet time and listen to the audio book?

But also perhaps have a good talk about why reading is important and how TV shouldn't be her only activity.

Have that talk as often as necessary.

And reading isn't the only important skill she should be developing.... Other mind expanding activities might be good as well, for example, listening to talk radio while doing a quiet craft.

And there are other activities you could work into the mix as well- like learning to bake. I was allowed to do whatever I wanted in the kitchen. I would make "disgusting cakes" (this was after a long experience of learning to follow recipes) but eventually I made my own... I am not sure that many kids today could make a disgusting cake that actually rises in the oven and looks like a cake but actually tastes like chives and Worcester sauce.

It was great fun to try and get my parents to eat it.

I also had a plot of dirt in our back yard where I made various things out of mud- pies, a large barbie water park....

I was learning all the time, how to get water where I wanted it, how to keep it there (putting a layer of foil in my barbie pools kept it from seeping into the ground to quick)

I don't know what American Girls by the Pleasant Company is like these days, but I devoured those and would make paper dolls and cook their historical recipes....

I was allowed another part of the garden where I could grow things.... it was shit when ants ate all my corn... but I would spend a lot of time out there...

You could also limit TV to old movies, educational documentaries, etc.

That's what TV was like in my house growing up. We (my brother and I) could each pick one show to watch each day, in addition to any show my mother felt was healthy and educational (like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego or kids travel shows like Globetrotter)

The rest of the time (if any tv was on AT ALL) it was something my mother wanted to watch and we were welcome to join her (documentaries about Abraham Lincoln on PBS for example, and old movies) and the news, followed by jeopardy/wheel of fortune...

For us, TV was such a treat that we would happily join her in watching those shows.... and I got a lot out of them. We would often just sit and draw while we watched.... perhaps because some of it was over our heads.

But if we got spoiled with TV, she would shut it down like a mofo. "What? half an hour of tv isn't enough for you? You're going to throw a tantrum or beg ridiculously? TV obviously makes you spoiled, so how about no tv at all?" And she followed through.

The point isn't that she LOVE to read, not everybody actually ends up loving reading. My friend is a very intelligent man, but he doesn't love reading in the same way I do. But he is obsessed with tinkering around on various projects in his garage.

It's about being ACTIVE with your brain, and not PASSIVE....

So I would make this about much more than reading.... a good lesson about balance and having leisure activities that help her have an active brain.
posted by misspony at 11:54 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with not making TV a forbidden fruit type of thing. How about watching some movies together?

Also, some kids who "don't like reading" are kind of daunted at setting forth on a novel. (A lot of adults are that way and no one thinks it is strange.) Maybe try a few almanacs and "weird facts" books or some other format like that where you're just biting off 20 minutes' worth of reading at a time. Those kinds of books are extremely popular gifts for a reason; kids find them a treat to read.
posted by BibiRose at 12:29 PM on June 27, 2014

When I was around your daughter's age, the family TV "broke" and my parents substituted weekly trips to the library. We would bring home a shopping bag full of books for the week, and every night after dinner the whole family would sit in the living room and read for an hour or so. It's one of my favorite memories.
One important thing, my parents let me choose any books I wanted from the library. Didn't matter if they were from the kid section, adult section...whatever I picked out, I could read. I liked that a lot, and I could have easily filled a whole bag myself.
posted by notaninja at 2:22 PM on June 27, 2014

TV and reading are not mutually exclusive. I watched TV like a fiend as a kid and still read voraciously. The most important things my family did to nourish my love of reading were modeling love of reading themselves, and making weekly trips to the library where I got to check out whatever I wanted. We actually brought a crate with us and the librarians let us stash it behind the counter so I could seriously load up every week. Those trips to the library are still among my favorite childhood memories. Instead of setting up a false dichotomy between TV and books, just take her to the library for a couple of hours a week and let her go wild.
posted by dialetheia at 2:44 PM on June 27, 2014

My advice:

1) Decide how much TV it's cool with you for her to watch, set the limit, and stick to it. Every time she asks to watch more, take away 10 minutes of TV time the next day or assign her an additional chore.

2) Stop caring about the reading. She'll either do it or she won't and either is okay.

3) It seems like she may be begging for more TV because she's not good at entertaining herself. Make sure you don't jump to her rescue every time she's bored. She's old enough to sit with her boredom and figure something out to do with herself, and it sounds like she needs practice at that.
posted by metasarah at 3:00 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

The fact that she wants to read to you (and not silently, by herself) and wants to watch TV suggests that she craves social interaction. I never pushed reading to my child, and he rarely picked up a book. We had no limits on TV or videogames. Now he's an English major in college and at this moment is finishing up Kafka's _The Trial_.

I don't know what the cause and effect is or isn't here, but I agree with those who say that pushing reading and rewarding with TV isn't really the way to go (reading = spinach, and TV = chocolate mousse).

"Hating" TV seems like a knee-jerk reaction. It's summer.
posted by DMelanogaster at 4:41 PM on June 27, 2014

If you happen to be in Canada your local public library hosts a Summer Reading Club for this exact reason. This type of program probably exists in the US too but my knowledge is limited. Just Google "summer reading club *town you live in*" or visit the library.
posted by Deodand at 7:56 PM on June 27, 2014

1. Less TV, not more. And if you must - make it minute for minute. Not double. And have a daily max for TV that is non-negotiable. If she fusses about it, the TV goes off, and she loses any the next day.
2. Summer reading programs.
3. Ensure that YOU and anyone else in the home aren't watching TV, either. Don't ever have the TV on "just for noise".
4. Ensure that you child IS seeing you read, too. (This is probably THE biggest thing... that they see parents who regularly read and enjoy reading, and have no one around them complaining about it or avoiding it.)
5. Books she ENJOYS. Doesn't matter if it's garbage subjects, as long as she's reading. And if your library has comics, LIMIT them. Also doesn't matter if they seem too short or easy. Fun is your friend, on this one.
6. If she doesn't know what kind of books she likes, genre bingo can be a useful idea.
7. That asking and begging and not accepting no for an answer is a symptom of a greater problem. It would be better to take care of that sooner rather than later.

You're the parent. All else fails, unplug the stupid-box for the summer. It IS doable, because lots of other parents have done it. (I did, even though mine *were* readers. I got sick of being asked, and off it went. By the time I relented and plugged it back in, nearly a year had gone by...

Around here, it's getting them to put DOWN the books long enough to do chores... I've been known to confiscate books on occasion.
posted by stormyteal at 9:16 PM on June 27, 2014

5. Books she ENJOYS. Doesn't matter if it's garbage subjects, as long as she's reading. And if your library has comics, LIMIT them. Also doesn't matter if they seem too short or easy. Fun is your friend, on this one.

Comics are a great tool for literacy and are often used for building a love of reading in children who are reluctant readers or not reading at grade level. Not to mention the fact that there are some that have undoubted literary value (in fact, I was going to suggest you drop her off by the graphic novels originally!) If OP's child is a visual learner, comics might be exactly what she needs to spark an actual love of reading.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:07 AM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a 10 year old who loves to read, but ya, if she were in charge, she'd probably watch tv all day long. Here's what I'd suggest:
* Tv is limited to __ shows per day (here we do 2 shows). That's all. Then you have to fill your time with something--can be reading, can be staring at the clouds, crafting, don't care.
* We go to the library every 2 weeks and load up on books. Sometimes we browse the non-fiction section, sometimes we pick up old favorites, etc
* I also go to the library on my own and, when I do, I pick up stuff that I think she might like: lately it's been graphic novels like Babymouse and The Lunchlady. Also, she like Aesop's fables and ghost stories from around the world. I just drop them on the coffee table and in case she likes them but I don't make her read anything.
* Do you have books around your house that aren't the books that she reads at school? I'm thinking of American Girl advice books like "Friends: Making and Keeping Them" or "A Smart Girls Guide To Knowing What To Say" (this whole series is very much liked by my daughter and her friends.) Also, Calvin and Hobbes spends a lot of time on the coffee table. Also, The Book of Greek Myths. I'm thinking of short stories or things you can pick up anytime and read in short bursts.
posted by biscuits at 7:20 PM on June 28, 2014

Maybe she would like to review books for the Chicago Tribune?
posted by Mchelly at 2:31 PM on June 29, 2014

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