Igniting a Love for Written Words

My kids are perfect.
Yeah, I know, every mother says that.
But really.
I have four perfect kids.

Perfect they are. at. being. kids.

They love to play. In fact, currently, it is their life aim.

They do what they love 100%. And, what they don't love, like work, well, that they do at a minimum, with just enough effort to get by.

When my children, who sometimes have the perception that school is work, start a day with the single goal of getting this done so they can go play, it doesn't end well.

I get frustrated.
They get frustrated when I make them redo sloppy, rushed work riddled with mistakes.

It is certainly not a blissful homeschool moment.

School is not, can not, always be fun and games.

There is work involved.
Hard work.

Quite frankly, I want my children to learn to do hard work, to put forth 100% effort when work is involved. They need to have determination and grit. I want them to succeed and not just with an "I made it, got that done" attitude. No, I want them to flourish.

So, when one of my daughters, who happens to struggle with motivation to read books, latched onto audio books, I was thrilled. We sought titles we both liked, and visited the library frequently to restock our supply. In this way, she 'read' and 'reread' many good books. Her comprehension skills and vocabulary increased.

During lessons, she still was required to read words from actual books. She needed to continue progressing in actual reading and decoding. However, the audio books offered us common ground for recreational reading.

After a few years of audio books, my husband and I knew we needed to increase her time reading actual words, rather than relying heavily on audio books.

We began by introducing her to a few new-to-her series of books. For reluctant page turners, book series offer a safe and enjoyable way to keep them coming back to books. Finding a series with vocab and sentence structure which did not challenger her, lent itself to greater success. After all, we weren't using these books to improve her reading skills, we were trying to ignite a love of reading, not just a love for a great story, though that is important, as well. {Our favorite for her is Imagination Station, a series from Adventures in Odyssey.}

Another motivator we utilized was picture books. Asking her to read picture books to her younger brother offered her a valid purpose, and did not in any way make her feel babyish for still reading picture books.

However, the greatest incentive arrived this past Christmas in the form of a Kindle. After downloading many books {mostly free versions!} she has been hooked.

Last night at dinner, after using the Kindle for just one day, she informed me she had read the first chapter of Little Women, the first chapter of James, and the first chapter in a Boxcar children book. Then, she asked me to find a Shakespeare play for her. Her sister's love of the Bard is wearing off on her, I think. {This is the one I downloaded for her as she is quite familiar with the storyline and characters.}

After I commented on her progress, she casually remarked, "Just put it on my Kindle, I'll read it."

{Music to my ears!} So, I did and will.

I should note, we still support and encourage her to listen to audio books. For Christmas, we got her The Cat of Bubastes, read by Jim Weiss.

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