Saturday, June 27, 2015

When They Say, "Do I Have To?"

Famous words from my 7 year old lately.

Followed up by, "I promise we can do it LATER..."

Yeah, sure. Right after we've spent 2 hours at the pool, played at a friend's, and had countless pick up baseball games in the front yard...and we're exhausted.

Instead of responding with, "No. Right now!" (Which is what I want to say...), I inquire about the main character, and add that I am super curious about what is happening in his/her life.

We are currently reading Magic Bone: Be Careful What You Wish For  by Nancy Krulik. We've enjoyed the first chapter, where, because the dog is the narrator, people are referred to as "two-legs" and vases as "a strange drinking glass that they really don't drink from, but instead put flowers in." We've talked about the humor in how the dog's perspective. He's even entertained ideas on how our own dog must view and refer to things in our house.

He was resistant to any more than ONE chapter. But here's what he doesn't know. I'm fine with the one chapter, but, because of all the discussing and pointing out I am doing along the way, I am getting the mileage in depth while he still thinks we are keeping it "short."

Today, he gave me the "later" line again for Chapter Two, but instead of a power struggle, I opted to say, "Really? I am so curious about Sparky finding the bone today! Remember? Yesterday after he broke the vase, what did his two leg do?" He was drawn into the conversation -- and took the bait. "Oh yeah," he said, "he got kicked out into the yard!"

After a few more minutes of bantering, I grabbed the book and sort of skimmed through the pages..."Here!" I said, "I think it happens!"

In that simple conversation, I connected the prior information (a crucial step for the brain to bring up those neural pathways) and gave a sliver of a preview on today to whet his appetite.

And he slipped into a chair beside me, and we read. Of course he needed a glass of water, and was distracted when his brother walked in the kitchen, but I just attended to the interruptions by saying, "Ok, but man! I can't wait to see when he finds that bone!"

It kept him coming back. Simple redirection, focused on the book. It doesn't work every time, but I will say it works WAY better than a fight or a mandate! And it puts them in the frame of mind that reading should be: a discovery, a journey, an adventure...not a task.

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