But Reading Isn't Cool!

The Reluctant Reader, Pt. 2

Yesterday, I told you about my grandson Caleb's struggle with reading every evening for 15 minutes. But that's not the end of the story. Turns out reading isn't cool. Maybe you're more in tune than I am, but I was definitely startled. Huh? Reading isn't cool?

It first started when he got home from school one day without the book he was supposed to read. I figured it was yet another way to get out of the requisite 15-minute evening reading requirement. I cut him off at the pass right away: "Well, Caleb, guess you'll have to read one of my books. I do have some kid books like Harry Potter." Oops, he's not reading Harry Potter, even the 1st volume is a whopping 309 pages. And why on earth would you read something that's also on a DVD that you've already seen?

Not to be deterred from my purpose, I mention that I have a few other books from my childhood. But no way is he reading girl books or books that are THAT old. I find a book for kids that will help with ADHD. It has lots of pictures and bullet points. He finally agrees to read this for 15 minutes but hates it. It's even more boring than other books.

The next day he dutifully brings his book home from school--hidden under his hoodie--so at least he can read a book he's chosen. "Caleb, why is your book under your hoodie instead of in your back pack." He looks at me like I've just lost my mind and patiently explains that reading isn't cool. That he would NEVER want another kid to see him taking a book home.

I check this out with his teachers the next day. Sure enough, part of the struggle they have getting kids to read is the "cool factor."

Still thinking that eventually I'll just give up, he comes home again without a book. I say "Fine. You don't want to read what I have. We'll just go to the library right now, and you can choose a book." Without skipping a beat, he argues that going to library is out of the question because someone might see him at the library. Now there's a certain amount of logic here: If reading isn't cool, libraries obviously represent the height of un-cool-ness.

But "someone might see me" isn't as logical. I remind him that if someone sees him at the library, they might be getting a book too. He and his friend can now be uncool together. So off we go to the library. He chooses a book and eventually finishes it.

You can try taking your reluctant reader to a large bookstore. One that has a kids' area, things to do, even a coffee shop. And don't forget bribes. Something like "After you choose a book--not a game, a puzzle, sticker book or toy--we'll get hot chocolate and a goodie in the cafe."

You'll find lots more ideas for getting your kids into the reading habit when you sign up for this month's FREE Smart Kids Smart Parents TeleClass Tuesday evening, Feb. 23, 8 pm eastern. Can't make it. No worries. Just listen to the recording later.

Please leave us a comment. Let us know what you've done to encourage reluctant readers.

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About Dr. MaryJo Wagner

MaryJo Wagner, PhD, helps you help your kids transform ADHD behavior for success. Sign up at Coaching & Accountability to get your questions answered with a complimentary Transformation Session.

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