Here you are, a dedicated parent or grandparent or other caregiver, and all you want to do is to make sure your kid grows into a well-rounded, happy, and caring person. (Which means you want them to be a reader, because research shows regular readers are happier, more empathetic, and volunteer more than non-readers.)
You make sure there are plenty of books around...you go to the library frequently...you read to your child every day...you know the importance of freedom of choice in reading, so you ask your child to pick the book...
And then - he or she chooses something you absolutely loathe. The characters are stupid or stereotyped, the pictures are basic, the plot too predictable. Or maybe you are just sick of reading the same refrain over and over.
Here is a 3-step plan to help you handle this scenario.
First, RELAX. It may feel sacrilegious to "hate" a particular book (you love books! you support reading!), but it happens. There are a LOT of books out there, and chances are, one or two are going to just get under your skin. Accept your own feelings.
Second, RE-DIRECT. Sometimes you are going to have to read The Dreaded Book. But often you can re-direct your child to another book that is more palatable to your reading tastes and that will interest them as well. That is why trips to the library are so important - you are bound to find many books that fit both criteria! "Oh, what about this book with the penguin making a funny face on the cover? Why do you think that penguin is making that face?"
Third, RE-CONNECT AND READ. This goes for The Dreaded Book, if you just have to read it or suffer a meltdown. Remember that reading is a special time for you to bond with your child. Ask lots of questions of your child. Try to find new things to point to or talk about related to the book.
And, not to "Cat's in the Cradle" you too much, but remember that one day much sooner than you think, your child will be reading on their own and won't need you to read aloud. Hold onto the moments you have. Enjoy them!
- Laura Raphael, Children's Services Coordinator