You can lead a horse to water…

Today was our first day of homeschooling for the new school year.  To say that I was  nervous at the prospect of adding Jensen as a Kindergarten student, would be a gross understatement.  Especially since he’s, well, Jensen.

I went the route of talking up how exciting it was that he would be beginning Kindergarten with the girls on Monday.  He screamed and fell to the floor.  For a split second, I thought he was excited at the prospect.  Because his excitement scream and his anguish scream are eerily similar.

But I quickly realized the scream was that of despair.  As though I had tortured him and told him Minnie Mouse was not real.  Well.  She isn’t, but I’m not going to be the one to break his heart.

He began yelling from the linoleum, “NO,YOU CAN’T MAKE ME! I WON’T GO TO SCHOOL. IT WILL BE BORING!” Plus some other stuff that I didn’t quite hear, because my head exploded.

After sufficiently threatening him, we settled down to our first official day of My Father’s World Kindergarten.  I find that using a Christian based curriculum balances nicely with my terroristic threats of attending boarding school.  In a harsh climate.

I worked with Jensen one-on-one while Emme and Cailey did their independent A.C.E. work.  About 5 minutes into it, Jensen brightly exclaimed, “GEE MOM, THIS SCHOOL STUFF IS FUN!” And he spent the rest of the day delighting in his Creation Book, number line, and letter A and its little friend B.

Shoot me.

After the girls finished their A.C.E. workbooks, we set about learning our Geography, History, and Science all together.  Everything was going marvelously until we got to the independent reading portion of Geography.  MFW recommends a well stocked book basket filled with books about what is being studied.  I dutifully stocked our basket with books from the library.  The assignment was to select a book of choice, and then spend 15 minutes quietly perusing the book.  Looking at the pictures would be fine as well.

This is where I lost Cailey.  Who secretly believes that she will spontaneously burst into flames if she has to, gulp, READ A BOOK.  Please understand, the child can read.  She reads well when forced to read something out loud.  But I have never, ever, been able to get her to pick up a book, on her own accord, and use it as anything other than a weapon.  Much less to read for pleasure.

Or displeasure.

Or anything.

Which boggles my mind, since her older sister is a voracious reader and goes through books faster than I can supply them.  And not to worry, I take great care not to compare the two siblings.  Except in my head.  Because honest to goodness, those two are as different as any girls could ever be.  They share a room, and genes.  But that’s it.

I’ve been hoping that something will simply click and she’ll pick up a book and fall in love.  I have read out loud to the kids for years, and she enjoys that ritual.  We’ve gone through the entire Little House series, all of the Anne of Green Gables books, and are now reading through The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe for our language studies.

I have heard from many moms of boys, regarding a lack of reading interest.  It is my hope that she’ll grow into a love of reading.  I can provide her with a lot of interesting reading material, but I can’t force her to enjoy reading.

Has anyone else dealt with this issue? Did it resolve on its own, or do I just need to resign myself that she may never take an interest in reading?  Or will I simply just need to keep reading the classics out loud to her until she’s 35?

19 Responses to You can lead a horse to water…

  • my 2 older ones used to hate properly reading… as in, quietly, on their own, and not books like comics… but that’s cos they are both dyslexic. I managed to get my son (who is 10) to read because I would ply him with books on stuff he was interested in, so story books based on bionicles and so on.
    For my girl, she is slowly but surely getting the hang of reading, but the difference is that her dyslexia is more severe than her brother’s (she’s 8+) and if asked to read out loud, she often muddles the words and is not very fluent. Yet, she has taken to reading because I will allow her to buy/borrow books on topics she loves, which are mostly about animals and girly stuff. We started out with books that were “below” where she was supposed to be at, and have been gradually working upwards…
    I’m also careful to choose books with bigger fonts that are clear and easy to read. When the fonts are fanciful and the spacing is small, they seemed to find the book a complete turn-off. So I found that if I chose my books carefully, they would be willing to read it.
    I don’t know if this would work with cailey, but I guess anything is worth a shot. God bless!

  • My almost 12 yo dd was a very reluctant reader … very frustrating for this loves-words, loves-books, loves-punctuation (did I just say that out loud?) mom. But just in the last couple years, she’s finally taken to reading on her own and I’m so pleased (though sometimes I have to threaten to take the book away if she doesn’t stop right now and clean whatever she’s supposed to be cleaning or to go to bed LOL!) I just kept bringing her to the library every week and letting her pick out something to read, plus now that I know what she really likes, I browse, too, and find things she might like, but I didn’t push her to read it after the first chapter or 2 (okay, so I TRIED not to push). Hang in there!

  • Hi, this just reminds me of my childhood days… Me and my little sister is quite something like this but mom didn’t push us or even tried to read. Mom always tried to read books for us, but sometimes she is quite busy and will then stop her reading for us. Like when the book mom was reading is a story book. She was in the climax of the story when she has to stop for God knows what was that, of course because of our urge to continue the story we started to read on our own and from there, we just started to have fun in reading book. I was 8 back then and my little sister’s 7, so we somehow know how to read a little.

  • I’m still living through it with a boy and a girl (the last 2 of 5 kids). They both read well, but H-A-T-E it (especially the boy, who is now 17). Very long story very short here, they both have issues with their eyes which required intensive vision therapy (Google it, or visit chidrensvision.com for good info). This is not something a regular eye exam will find. I’d encourage you to look into it (like you need something else to look into). If it turns out not to be the case, at least you’ll know you tried and you can go back to terrorist tactics.

  • BTDT.

    I hate to say it but Captain Underpants was my rescuer. . .
    (I REALLY HATE to say it!)

    I don’t know who turned my kid onto it, but he found them hillarious, and wanted to read more.

    Some people, comic books work for. Junie B. Jones is another common one.

    Oooh, getting a child hooked at a very exciting part of a book, then suddenly comming down with something where you can’t read. . .that works sometimes too.

    Anyway, my reluctant reader is a voracious reader now. Slow and steady. . .

  • PS. The above is in addition to severe dyslexia and visual processing disorder, but OMGosh, don’t get me started. I could spend three lifetimes on that.

  • OK, the above link by karen should be http://www.childrensvision.com cos without the www and with the missing “l”, it didn’t work… 🙂

  • In my family, I was the voracious reader….however, my sister reads but has to LOVE the book. Perhaps your daughter will be a choosier reader? I would just keep on doing what you are doing….my daughter is 7 and loves to read..my son ,typical boy not so much, especially with assigned summer reading. I often catch him reading when I least expect him to be! 🙂

  • For a long time my 17 yr old girl did not like to read. It really has only been in the last 3 or so years. It took until she was old enough to read books that really interested her. When she was younger she love for me to read books about animals to her, but would not read them herself.

    When she found topics that would hold her interest she really began reading to herself. I think she reads very carefully and stops to think about what she is reading–so if it is not interesting, and I mean really interesting to her, she did not want to put in the time and effort. Now she almost always has a book in her hand and plans what she is going to check out of the library before she even finishes the book she is reading. Often, I read books based on her recommendations.

    Although it used to puzzle and frustrate me that she did not like reading-I knew she could read.

  • My brother would read only what he had to. Drove my parents nuts. But, he turned 19 and something clicked. He is now an intense reader and is rarely without a book in his hand (if he isn’t working on some project). He is 39.

  • What worked for my 9-year-old was sending her to school.

    Just thought I’d throw that in to shock you 🙂

    Actually, she had always wanted to go to real school, so we let her attend the local public school for the last half of 4th grade. She had an awesome experience and we learned something very valuable about what motivates K.

    She loves competition.

    *Thrives* on it. Will do whatever it takes to have the top score, the best grades, the most AR points. Accelerated Reader is a program where kids read a book then take a little test and get points for it. The harder the book, the more points you get. The school tracked each kids progress and the kids themselves were always comparing who had harder books and how many points they had. K went from reluctant reader to devouring everything on our bookshelf.

    Unfortunately, it’s just for schools and we’re back to homeschooling this year (Mommy felt that the long days and extended school year were cramping her style). I wish there were something like AR for homeschooling, but K seems to have developed a love of reading for its own sake.

  • My oldest (11) wasn’t the least bit interested until about 6 months ago. Oh, she could read….just didn’t want to. I continued to make her read a little bit everyday and we go to the library all the time (where they check out enough books to start their own library – but that’s an entirely different topic).

    Then one day things got quiet. Too quiet (you know what I mean) and I went hunting for the girls. I found Sarina with her nose in a book!! Not wanting to jinx it, I just quietly slipped away. She even spent her own money and bought herself one of the American Girl Mysteries (Julie) which she read in just a couple of days!

    This is why I love homeschool. My girls will get a chance to develop and excel in the time frame that suits their brains not forced to progress on someone elses predetermined schedule.

    Jury is still out on the younger sister. But she’s 9, we have plenty of time!

    Sit back, enjoy and let it happen! 😉

  • You are not alone Deedee…My 11 yr old and only girl is not the voracious reader I was and still am. Part of it was due to the public school I sent her too for first grade telling her she had a reading disability which gave her an excuse…nto only that they could not give me a name of whatever reading disability she had. Funny she is now starting the 6th grade and reads at a 9th grade level. But I digress. She loves to be read to but is just not a natural reader. I got her over part of this by taking off the pressure so to speak and got her started on a book about whatever her passion was…back then it was horses (still is) and so we checked out every book in our local library on horses, then I introduced her to other what I call “fluff” series…like the babysitters club etc. However once I got her into a series like that and over her insistence that she was allergic to books, I threw a wrench into the plan. I told her that for every 2 chapters she read of a book *I* picked out she could read 1 chapter of the book she liked. That still works today…although she is now obsessed with pokemon books …shoot me now. But hey I have gotten her through some really good books that way. The moral to my neverending long story is to try and find something she likes and then bribe her with it. LOL Another thing you might try is take her to the library and let her talk to the kids librarian and maybe she can suggest some ideas? Good luck!

  • What about a Tween Book Club? Complete with fun snacks and discussion. I know a little girl moving to your area that would love to host such an event for a few friends- Say maybe the end of September? We could start with an American Girl book. Just an idea.

  • I read to both my children from the time they were conceived but neither of them like to read. Well, I should say that they didn’t like to read. Like your daughter, the world would come to an end. However, with my son, the 39 clues came out and he was interested in it but he just couldn’t seem to pay attention and keep at it… so i bought the audio book from audible.com and he read while listening. And he loved it. Then, this year? His teacher REQUIRED 100 minutes of reading a week that I had to sign off on…. something clicked, he found authors and series that he fell in love with and had enough minutes that he could’ve stopped reading in march and still met all his minutes had he wanted to. (He’s now 13 by the way)… in fact, he mowed lawns to save money to buy a nook.

    My 10 year old daughter? LOVES to buy books… HATES to read them… but we started her with the audio books to listen while reading and she can at least get through a whole book that way. Maybe she’ll come around, too.

  • As a reading teacher for the past five years, I have to agree with what the majority of commenters are saying. Find something that interests her, even if it is below her reading level. I became a constant reader when I discovered Trixie Beldon mysteries. Still love a good mystery to this day.
    Good luck and happy homeschooling!

  • I hesitate responding to your post because I will be disclosing some private issues about someone very close to me – that is, me! But I have to admit that your Cailey sounds a lot like me. I am a second born with an older sister who is a book worm also! I, however (like Cailey), just did not have a joy of reading at all. I read the books I was required to read (or bought the Cliff’s Notes!) I was a very good reader but just didn’t enjoy doing it. I was an excellent straight A student and was actually Salutatorian at my high school and graduated college cum laude in Mathematical Science. As an adult, however, I do enjoy reading but I still don’t read a lot. I have found that I enjoy reading self-help books from practically any Christian writer and an occasional mystery/suspense novel while on vacation. I read very fast though, often skimming over the material. It is probably too early to tell if Cailey is a left brainer or not but if things with numbers (multiplication, division, etc…) all come easy for her, then most likely you may have a future scientist or mathematician on your hands. And if that is the case, it will be ok if she doesn’t love reading!! Many left-brain people also love to read but there are also a lot that do not. So, don’t fret! She may still find a genre that excites her, but if she doesn’t she may just be more of a numbers gal like me! Good luck!!!

  • Neither of my kids liked to read, they would much rather be outside playing some type of ball. It just baffled me. If I hadn’t birthed each of them I would think they were adopted, as I spent the majority of my childhood in the neighborhood library and still to this day (47 years) read books in one sitting. HOWEVER, after they got into college and I wasn’t pressing them to, they got interested in books, so I guess that’s just proof that prayer works!

  • Our 2 oldest loved reading from an early age, but not our youngest. Nothing could motivate her to read until she finally found a genre that appealed to her – mysteries. She told me years later that she would read under the covers at night so I wouldn’t know that I’d been right about the enjoyment of reading.