I spent about 30 minutes searching for my then 10-year old.
It was cold and rainy, so I doubted that he had adventured outside.
I looked everywhere.
We lived in a big home then, so it took me a while to go back and forth while calling his name.
I couldn’t find him anywhere.
I walked faster toward the back door so I could begin looking outside.
Movement caught my eye as I called again from the kitchen.
The little squirt was hiding in plain sight, as still as a statue, curled between a black bean bag and our fluffy black and white dog.
“What the heck are you doing?” I asked.
He lifted a Magic Tree House Book in the air without making eye contact.
I almost spit out my gum.
The boy’s reading!!!!
Did you catch that he was 10-years old?
That’s old enough to thoroughly enjoy the sight of me walking right by without seeing him.
It’s also way beyond the “normal” reading age.
I get messages from frantic mama’s often about:
- how to teach their 4-year olds to read
- What language curriculum to buy for their kindergartener
- and suggestions for chapter books for 5-year olds
Meanwhile, my own kids took their sweet time learning to read.
As my son grew into the, “I’m starting to wonder if I am the right teacher for this child” age I began to leave him hanging in a story.
My goal became leave him begging for more…
And you know what? It worked.
We never stressed about his lack of reading skills (out loud).
We just kept reading.
All five of our sons were delayed readers.
Our youngest was the most delayed.
His brain had too much going on to be troubled with the task of decoding the dancing syllables on the page.
This extra busy, brilliant, and wiggly son couldn’t be bothered until that day he disappeared in plain sight.
So how did I get him to read?
I just kept reading to him.
I read his math instructions, his history and science lessons to him and marinated him in exciting read-alouds.
Sure, I pointed to words, tracked with my finger, and read slowly and carefully, but I kept reading without adding pressure on him.
That day he curled up in the beanbag with our dog and read his first chapter book launched him from not reading, to devouring books almost overnight.
Some may be tempted to roll their eyes.
A 10-year old reading Magic Tree House? Big Deal.
I think that’s where so many people miss the point.
The point is not to rush your kids through the easy readers and into the ocean of “Big Kids Books”, the point is to get your kids to love to read.
I mean head over heels in love with reading, reading.
I make it a point to never roll my eyes at the book choices of my kids to their face.
Instead, we embrace the fact that they love to read.
Magic Tree House for Big Kids? You Bet!
My son burned through 1-3 books a day when he discovered he could read.
I even sat him down and picked his brain.
Together, we created learning activities to go along with the books he was reading.
Excited, overjoyed, and proud.
That’s how those silly little kid books made him feel.
Just keep reading to them.
It will click eventually.
The goal is NOT when they read, but THAT they LOVE to read.
When that cold rainy day comes and you are frantically searching for them, just be sure to check the beanbag in the corner!
Do your kids love Magic Tree House Books?