Owen is not really a reader.
At least, not the kind of reader I was at his age. As soon as I realized that there were words everywhere, and I could actually understand them, I became a voracious reader. I read, quite literally, everything: toothpaste containers, cereal boxes, every book in my classroom, books from my dad’s collection. One summer, I won the local library’s reading contest.
It’s just how I was made. I read a lot. I was awful at math and really didn’t like science… but give me a stack of books and I was happy for days.
Owen, on the other hand, is the quintessential math and science kid. He has been fascinated by how things work from the time since he was a baby. Why does it do this? How does it go? What makes it work the way it does?
And though we read books together every night, he’s not so much into reading at other times. I actually worried about this when he was in first grade; until his teacher told me he was where he needed to be, reading-wise. And this year, his teacher told me he was ahead of the game in his reading and vocabulary skills.
I’m a big proponent of kid-based learning: If you kid prefers science over reading a book, then okay, let him learn about science – even if that means he binge watches “Mythbusters” for days because the science is really, really, cool.
Still, though. It’s summer now, and in our school district 3rd grade is when things get academically challenging. And the summer reading loss is real. So I’ve been trying to figure out ways to incent O to (actually) read
more on his own this summer.
I came up with a challenge: for every book he reads on his own this summer, he’ll get a tally mark. Every book gives him more iPad/Wii/Mythbusters screen time, and for every 5 books he has the chance to earn something special, like a chore-free day, lunch out with me or Jeff, fishing with Jeff, a late bedtime coupon, or other activities like bowling, pool time, the beach, chuck e cheese, etc.
And we’ll head to the library weekly – more if he goes through books quickly.
He recently discovered the “I Survived” series, too, which is fiction, but based on real events. We’re reading about the Joplin Tornado, and yesterday, at the library, he picked out one on the San Fransisco Earthquake.
And damned if he didn’t read at the library, then at the table while Jeff and I ate dinner after his baseball game, and then again before bed.
Seeing him into his book made my heart really, really happy.
A good start to the summer for sure!