Monday, February 6, 2017

Why kids don't like to read - Microblog Monday

Since one of my contracts ended I have been making ends meet as a tutor.

I love it more than I thought possible.

One part of my tutoring is something I like to call reading counseling. Where I talk to the kid--most often 7th/8th grade boys and I match a book with their personality and keep trying until something sticks. I am very successful at this.

Tonight I was reading The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems to Lotus. She was giggling all over it--and I think I realized why kids are having so much trouble finding something to read.

We have collectively lost our sense of humor--and think kids should too.

Tell me, seriously, what was the last Newberry award winner where someone didn't die?  Or even if all the named characters made it through alive--was there humor?  Brown Girl Dreaming was beautiful--but it wasn't a happy story.

How do we expect kids to escape into books when the stuff in books is as depressing or more than what they are escaping from?

I know of some books that are fun and funny and escapist, but they are looked down on by teachers. Reading these books don't "count" as much. If you put the fun back in books--you'll have more people reading for fun.


  1. That's a very valid point. Putting fun back in books will definitely make a difference.

  2. Excellent point, JW. One of the advantages of homeschooling is that our kidlets had very little "assigned" reading. The eldest is pretty dyslexic, and had a hard time getting through anything until she stumbled upon the Goosebumps series. Even though she was older than the usual demographic (around 13 years old at the time), she really enjoyed them, and managed to finish a number of them over the course of a few weeks (never made it cover to cover before). Fun is a great motivator!

  3. So true. Sometimes kids want books that mirror their lives, to see that they aren't alone, to help them explain their emotions when they might not have the words, but sometimes they truly do want to escape.

    When I take Gus to the library I let him pick whatever books he wants (below his level, at his level, above his level), because you never know what books you're really going to like until you give them a try. And the ones he likes the best are all DIFFERENT. He enjoyed Charlotte's Web, but also the Creatures from My Closet series which he finds more humorous.

  4. Oh like Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. We had such funny books growing up.

  5. I liked sad/tragic books as a kid (or at least as a tween). I remember reading a lot of books about kids dealing with family upheaval (death or serious illness/injury of a parent or sibling, divorce, parental unemployment), as well as more than a handful of books about orphans or kids in foster care. I also liked mysteries and non-fiction. Sure, I read funny and/or upbeat books, but darker material has always appealed to me.

    Then there's my cousin's 9-year-old. When told to find a non-fiction book to read and report on, she had a tough time deciding between a book on the 1918 flu pandemic and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. This semester, she has to write about a famous Virginian and has chosen Edgar Allen Poe.

    Don't knock the dark chicks. You can't see the light without the dark.