Should You Force Your Child to Read Over the Summer?
So I decided to take a stand against all that frenzy and just plop down. Every night, the minute I felt like the dinner routine was contained and homework was mainly done, I slid off to the couch with a book. It always took them a few minutes to catch on. Hey, where's mom? Why isn't mom here? Dad, what did you do with mom? Once they found me (those little homing pigeons), they found me reading and deeply enjoying it. Some almighty force stopped Mom in her tracks and they wanted to know what that force was. After a few nights of this, my oldest started to join me on the couch. We huddled under the blanket together and touched toes and read, me with my grown-up book and him with his just-starting-out book. He would tell me what page he was on and ask me mine. My progress was always two pages behind his, even if it wasn't. His little face glowed with satisfaction.
This winter, my oldest and I have started a new tradition. We pick an afternoon during a quiet weekend and we take the subway a few stops to Broadway and 8th Street, just below Union Square in Manhattan. We stroll through the The Strand bookstore - 18 miles of books! - and treat ourselves to something new. Then we share a gelato at a place near Washington Square Park, quoting parts of our books that we really like. This is what I wanted for my child. Not to read with an egg timer staring him down. Just to read - as if it's the most wonderful thing ever invented.