When Mandy called in to ask about her daughter, who likes to be read to, but doesn’t really enjoy reading herself, I was all ears.

If you can relate, consider: when your child was 2, 3, 4 … did he/she like being read to?

Most small children LOVE being read to. They climb right into your lap and relish every minute.

It’s about the story, yes, but it’s also about the connection. 

We really, really want our kids to love reading. So naturally, we worry when they don’t.

I wonder if that same connection is what our non-reading kids are actually seeking.

We’re often tempted to think our kids are lazy, or aren’t true readers, but laziness is rarely at play here (especially in the case of a dyslexic child).

So why don’t some of our kids love reading? And what on earth can we do about it?

That’s what I’m addressing today on the podcast from a mama who suspects her child may be dyslexic, and worries that she doesn’t enjoy reading.

In this episode, you’ll hear:
  • Why kids may prefer being read to (hint: it’s not because they’re lazy!)
  • Whether it’s OK to do a lot of reading aloud to older kids (short answer: heck yes)
  • How different modalities make reading accessible at a different level
Click the play button below or scroll down to keep reading.

Your Child is Right Where They Need to Be! (and so are you)

First, I want you to know that a child not wanting to read on his/her own is pretty common. There’s nothing particularly alarming about it.

There are things we can do, of course, and I’ll toss out some ideas for you here in just a moment.

I just want to make sure to point out that your child is exactly they are in their reading life, which is exactly where God can meet them…

… and it’s also right where you can meet them, and help them take the next step.

Your child is right where they need to be. And so are you. 

Here’s a question that might be popping up for you: Can she really do most of her reading with me?

The answer is a resounding and hearty YES.

I promise you won’t regret any time you spend here. Twenty years from now, you aren’t going to wish you had read less with her. I promise that won’t make her less of a reader. It will only benefit her, you, and your relationship.

Audio Books FTW

However, that’s not always possible – you are a mother… which means you have a lot on your plate.

That’s where audio books can help quite a bit.

One idea you might like to try is having a daily Quiet Reading Time – a 30 minute block (you can pick any amount of time you’d like here – there’s no magic formula), where your child can hang out in their room or sit at the table and craft, or play with Legos, or do a puzzle, draw, or whatever they like to do with their hands – and listen to an audio book.

This will go really far in helping your child fall in love with books and stories, drive their desire to get more books and stories, and familiarize them with grammatically correct, sophisticated language patterns through the ear, which will make a huge difference when they read with their eyes.

If your child has been listening to audio books while growing up, then when they reads with her eyes, it will be so much easier for her to understand how the language works – how it sounds and fluctuates.

The cadence, the pacing, all of it will be “heard”, because of her experience listening to books.

Graphic Novels = An Excellent Choice

In her question, Mandy mentioned that her daughter enjoys graphic novels.

Graphic novels are an excellent choice here!

Graphic novels actually require our child to operate in a multi-modal form. They are reading and interpreting the story in multiple parts of their brain, because they have to read and interpret the text AND the pictures at the same time, to understand the story.

We underestimate how excellent graphic novels are for our kids because our kids love them, so we tend to be suspicious. 

I’d highly recommend listening to RAR #137: Why Your Kids love Graphic Novels (and which we like best). That will probably make you feel a lot better about your child’s interest in graphic novels and will help you find some good ones.

One book that hasn’t been added to that list yet, but needs to be is Lightfall by Tim Probert. The second in the series will just have come out when this podcast releases. I haven’t read the second one yet, but the first is spectacular. Highly recommended, and perfect for a 12-year-old.

Every time your child reads and finishes a graphic novel, they cast a vote for themselves as a reader. It’s another vote that says to them, “You are a reader,” and that is significant.

It Takes the Time it Takes

If you can, try not to fret too much about how long it seems to take to help your child really fall in love with reading. 

So much of what we’re doing as parents is planting seeds.

Do you know about bamboo?

Some varieties of bamboo take 5 years to grow. You plant the seed, water it, tend it, protect it – and you see NOTHING for your efforts. What’s actually happening is a complicated root structure underground is taking shape, but you can’t see it.

About 4-5 years down the road, that bamboo shoots up, growing at a tremendous rate. 

Homeschooling and parenting is a lot like bamboo.

We pour years of our time and attention into growing and tending our little bamboo seeds, and it sure looks like nothing is happening.

It is!

But it won’t do us any good to insist on seeing the results and digging up the earth to see it for ourselves.

Parenting and homeschooling takes a kind of faith. A faith that what we’re doing matters and makes a difference, even when it doesn’t really feel like it.

Things like this just take the time they take.

Head’s Up: I’m sharing my whole framework for Teaching Literature Without a Curriculum in RAR Premium this summer.

So if you are interested in learning how I teach literature without a curriculum and with a strong emphasis on raising kids who love to read, be sure to join us – you can do that at RARPremium.com

Books mentioned in the show

When Stars Are Scattered
Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian
Lightfall: Shadow of the Bird

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from the Read-Aloud Revival

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