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Monday, January 12, 2009

Is Reading Overrated?

Let me start this post by saying I am a book worm. When we first married, my husband was shocked to find out how much time I spent reading. One of my favorite ways to spend an evening out is browsing at Barnes and Noble. I am almost always reading something. If I don't have a book or magazine nearby, I'll read a cereal box label.

My husband, on the other hand, rarely picks up a magazine and reads 2-4 books per year on average. Last year, he read two books that were assigned to the church by our pastor, a short book about grief and the biography Cooked . For the past 2 months, he's been working on the book called Becoming a Millionaire God's Way. I'm thinking, "Finish it, already!"

When we first married, I was shocked to find out how little time my husband spends reading. He would rather spend his free time watching football or playing golf.

I think it's safe to say reading is important. Every adult in this country should be able to read signs, warnings, instructions, contracts, magazines, books, etc. However, I think some of us are under the impression that every child must love reading and have a taste for great literature. I see this quite a bit with people who are making themselves miserable by using literature-based programs that their children hate.

While I absolutely love programs like Sonlight and Winter Promise, I think it is sad that some parents force these programs on children when they're not a good fit. Even the publishers themselves will admit that literature-rich programs are not right for every family.

As a bookworm, I obviously don't think reading is something to be discouraged. I just don't think we have to turn kids who don't love reading into kids who love classic literature.

Children are individuals who will have their own likes and dislikes. Once we are sure they can read well, comprehend what they are reading and apply what they've read to real life, I think it is okay to let them decide how much or little they read in their free time. In the book, How Children Learn, John Holt tells story of child who loved to build and learned how to read on a college level by reading instructions.

Is reading overrated? In some instances - yes. By all means, I don't think we should replace reading with extra Wii or TV time, but reading is not the only productive activity available. There are times I will tell my oldest (a bookworm) to stop reading and *gasp* go do some chores.

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Robin's Reports said...

Thanks for bringing this up. We did SL in the beginning, skipped 3rd & 4th Cores and went back for Core 5. I had forgotten how heavy it was in reading.

The only blessing is that after my ds got past the 2 wk adjustment of having so much literature in his life, he's picked up speed and finally doing better. There are times that he hates a reader and I'll let him off the hook. I'm just not sure how much of a good-fit it will be for my younger one once he gets at the same point.

I'm thinkin' it is great to address these issues before investing several hundred dollars in programs heavy in reading.

Luke said...

I've never been a big reader myself, but I still love Sonlight. I doubt I will ever turn into a bookworm, as reading is still difficult for me to do, but I love a good book. That's why audio books are so great for me.

And even though reading is difficult, I do like reading aloud to my family. I look forward to when I can start reading the Sonlight read-alouds to my kids [smile].

But you are absolutely right: While reading is fantastic, there are other ways of learning things.


Carletta said...

Luke, I'm glad you chimed in because I was interested in hearing your thoughts. Especially since SL is pretty clear that their program won't work for some families.

Yep. There's more than one way to learn. I think it gets difficult when our children value different activities and learn differently than we do.

Brenda said...

You and your husband sound exactly like me and mine!

This is a good point--be able to read and loving it more than anything on earth are 2 different things.

Anonymous said...

Your husband sounds a lot like mine, and you sound a lot like me - even down to the cereal boxes. LOL

My husband is more informed and can hold a conversation with people better than I do most times. He gets much of his information surfing the television (how embarrassing). He's up on current events and sports. He watches discovery and the The Learning Channel more than most. The amount he learns from tv pretty much matches the amount I learn online. HOWEVER, his vocabulary and speaking/writing skills are not as they should be. I know it's because he rarely reads. So, yes, this is a topic worth debating. Thanks for posting it. -Karen (

DarthCalenwasMom said...

We're following a classical method that is heavy on literature. My son HATES to read, so I get around this by reading to him. I don't feel it's cheating in any way, first because this is something we already did, and secondly because I gain as much from it as he does. But I do try to remember that he enjoys hands-on activities, and try to plan accordingly.

Carletta said...

That doesn't sound like cheating to me either. I think it's great that you've found an arrangement that meets your son's needs.