Persistence. That long awaited day.
He learned how to read very early.
Pointing to words and asking what they were at 18 months old soon led
to asking what the letters were and how they worked. So he read his
first book the week he turned three. At four, his favorite game was
one he made up and called the “rhyming game.” He would write an
ending sound like at, or ack, on the white board and we would take
turns writing words that rhymed. He started simple with cat, rat,
fat, and back, rack, track, but then kept going until he was soon
using homophones and multi-syllabic words. I never pushed, but just
continued to play games with him.
So, imagine my surprise when he got older
and began really reading whole books, that he hated it. He hated it
and he told me so every day. He took every opportunity to tell anyone
he met how much he hated reading. I, as a teacher, had failed. When
it was time for reading, he complained. When it was time to read
science, he complained. When it was time to read history, he
I talked it over with friends and family
and the advice I received repeatedly was that some people just don't
like to read and that's just the way it is. I refused to accept that.
I plugged away and kept insisting on that 30 minutes a day for
reading. I honestly believe that anyone who can read well, will enjoy
reading when they find that certain something that sparks an interest
in them. Our friendly bookmobile lady took up the case with me to
find that spark for him. Any interest I heard him mention, I would
ask her to bring books on that subject. We've tried basketball,
football, martial arts, war books, books on how things work, solar
system, joke books and anatomy. He enjoys all of those topics, but
still didn't want to read about them.
Lately she's been bringing him dog books.
He would read a chapter and put it down. He did enjoy one that was
full of charts and facts about various dog breeds. So he read the
Then she brought The Good Dog by
Avi, a book written from the dog's point of view. The dog doesn't
know what to call things, so he names them for what they do. A glow
box for television, a staring paper for newspaper, a freeze box for
refrigerator, and human pup for a boy. During reading time, he read a
chapter. The next day, he read another. All week he read the entire
30 minutes without complaint. And today, yes, today was the day my
persistence paid off and he said, “Can we do reading first? I like
this book.” Oh, what music to my ears! The words I have longed for!
And then for icing on the cake, when the timer went off, he asked if
he could keep reading. Yes, my boy, yes! Today will be a reading
holiday! Read as long as you like.