Sunday, August 28, 2011

Keep the Conversation Going

Yesterday my son Ben and I had a conversation that we have had several times already. Ben is not a huge fan of reading right now. When he was little, he loved reading, but as he has gotten older and sports, games, friends, and other things have captured his attention, he's happy to just do what's required in reading for school. And he ONLY wants to read nonfiction.

He is no different than many, many young men in my class. It seems that boys, more than girls, are often wired for nonfiction, and they have difficulty developing stamina with books. I am generalizing - I don't believe readers are any specific "type." I do not like to stereotype because I feel it limits my ability to see THEM where they are and where they can go.

ANYWAY, Ben and I were talking about finding a book for him to start reading this week. I suggested a few fiction books, to which he responded, "I don't see the point - they aren't real."

Perfect opportunity! How would I respond?

I began telling him about how I had read a book, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, with my class. I explained how I had started it on a recommendation from our school librarian. I gave him a basic summary about the book to pique his curiosity (it's about a young girl with Cerebral Palsy and her experiences through middle school). I told him that, because of that book, I had a greater understanding of a person that is extremely different from me. I added that I had a great deal of sympathy for the mom, who worked tirelessly as her daughter's biggest advocate, and that made me appreciate my situation with having four healthy boys.

We went further into discussing how books can open your eyes to situations outside your own "bubble" and make you a better person. 

He stopped a moment. "So I guess I can learn something from fiction," he stated. "Maybe if I gave it a chance and read it like I am learning about someone different from me I will like it better."

Again, this was not the first time I have talked to him about how books affect us...he just got it this time. And that's my point. Sometimes we feel like we talk until we are blue in the face about the same things, and it isn't sinking in. Well, sometimes they aren't sinking in. 

Sometimes it's timing, sometimes it's development, sometimes it's the way we are explaining. Just keep that in mind and keep saying it. 

It'll hit home once, and it'll all be worth it.

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