Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Startling Discovery

It's been coming for years. And maybe I already knew, but I was living in denial. But I have realized something.

Mary does not like to read. It's not that she can't read. It's just not--dare I say it?--fun for her to read.

I would expect this from the boys. Boys are all about dirt and noise and action. But my guys were always readers. They taught themselves, it seemed. Yeah, I read to them constantly. But each of them, sometime before the end of kindergarten (for Jay it was before kindergarten,) came to me and said, "Mommy! Look! These words! I can read them!" And they did. We even had a deal as they progressed through school and Grandma bought them a Nintendo. "You can play it," I would say, "after your schoolwork is done and you've been outside for an hour." (I called it a deal; it was more of a rule, but it made me feel better enforcing it if I thought they had some input, I guess.) More often then not, I would find them outside, sure, but they would be reading, or sitting together, talking about something they'd read or some plan they were hatching. Not the physical activity I meant when I said, "Be outside."

Mary, on the other hand, was always physical. There are times, still, when she'll say, "I just have to go outside," and she'll be gone an hour or more. She rides her bike, or tramps through the fields, or plays with the critters. When she was younger, she'd be out there for hours. Now it's a little shorter, but it still happens. When she was in first grade and capable, but still not reading, she told me, "If I read, Mom, you'll never read to me again." I thought she wanted the cuddling, but I'm beginning to see that she just didn't want to do that kind of physical labor.

Where's the little girl who was going to like "Anne of Green Gables?" We were going to share Rosemary Sutcliff books together; she says, "It's OK, Mom, but, really, kinda boring." Historical fiction? Boring? I could do a Bronte swoon right now. This week we're watching Gone With The Wind, kind of a Civil War movie. It is not enticing her to read the book. Scarlett, in her words, is "emo," which is not a complimentary term for Mary.

And how are we going to do high school without Tolkein? Beowulf? Shakespeare, for goodness sakes? She will read C. S. Lewis, so there may be hope yet. She does like the Eragon series, and Harry Potter finally got her reading in about 5th grade. But I am afraid I may have to resort learning.

Say it isn't so.


Elephantschild said...

I agree with Mary on Scarlett.

I hated that movie. While all my girlfriends were swooning, I was quietly barfing.

Has Mary read James Herriot?

Melody said...

She thought it was boring. That WAS a couple of years ago, though.

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing with you.

Maggie is the same way. She taught herself to read because I was forcing her to have a rest time. No other reason. She had to have SOMETHING to do. And even then it was a children's cookbook that she used to teach her. It was ABOUT doing something.

We are reading Anne of Green Gables and she endures it...even though she is quite the kindred spirit...well, milder temper.

She does like history, but not all the "Living Books" we get on it. Lets read about it and get it over with. Chris was the theoretical one, who didn't care that I couldn't stand to do projects.

I have no clue what to do with her.

(however, maybe figuring out how to work with this can help with the getting work done issues, maybe? (as my daughter is following yours, I am counting on you to work through this so that you can figure this out for me please???)

As far as Shakespeare goes, take her to the plays. They were meant to be seen anyway. Have Caitlin come over and act them out....

Karen said...

My second daughter is the same way. She doesn't read for pleasure and chooses any other activity first. When she was learning to read, she preferred to read non-fiction rather than stories, which are BORING. I had a younger sister who was the same way. Now that she's a mom, she loves to escape in a good story.

Jenn said...

There is always audio books. The kids love listening to audio. We're going through the Chronicles of Narnia for the 3rd time right now. sometimes they play sometimes they lie on the floor and listen. But they usually come back with the story - later. ;) But I like the idea of taking her to plays. Oh and when she's a touch older (and you've checked them out first) check out Shakespeare Retold - I think BBC does them. I think they're brilliant - my favorite is Taming of the Shrew. They're clean except for British swearing. John likes them b/c then he understands the story before sitting down with the original text. ;)
But I don't have good ideas I'm a reader and I never have "got" non-readers. :(

Betsy said...

We are all readers in my family so I can't really give advice. When my boys were elementary age I had a hard time getting them to read the Bible. I had a rule....each child must read the Bible for 15 minutes every night. That never seemed long to them so they were very receptive.

I would go in their bedroom an hour later and they were still reading the Bible. It's hard to read something for just 15 minutes. And, they were reading without being made to.

I tried that approach with school work and it worked like a charm.