Does the side of your toilet look something like this? If so, you might be raising readers. How in the world do you get kids to enjoy reading? Yesterday I blogged about how I love to read. As a parent, I also hope that I can instill the love of reading in my children (especially with the amount of video games abounding today). Let me tell you about my kids (even the ones with autism) and how I incorporate reading into their lives.
Jordan (17): Reading didn’t come naturally to this kid. It was only after 4th grade that we found the right doctor to take him to: a developmental optometrist. After a series of tests, they found out his eyes didn’t track together (among other things). He started vision therapy (think of physical therapy for your eyes) and was able to teach his eyes to work like “normal people’s” eyes work. Unfortunately, he was at a severe disadvantage compared to his peers whose eyes had been working normally since they were born. He is still delayed in reading, but I found some cool books called “graphic novels” that really sucked him into reading (check out your local library to find some). Graphic novels are comic books that tell the same story books tell but with lots of pictures. They even have graphic novels now for several of the Percy Jackson books, Twilight books, and even some old classics like A Wrinkle in Time. Jordan is now reading frequently on his own and has recently enjoyed going through the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. He also enjoys audio books.
Nathan (15): Nathan is low-functioning on the autism spectrum, and he can read, but he has a hard time with comprehension. I have read to my children since they were old enough to sit on my lap and look at books. We also have enjoyed frequent trips to the library, especially in the summer. Nathan’s favorite way to read books is audio books. I am probably one of the few mothers out there that checks out books on cassette tape and CD 20 at a time during the summer to keep Nathan happy and busy. He also has enjoyed videos of people reading like http://www.storylineonline.net/. A word of warning though, Nathan has also adamantly asked for every book on Storylineonline that he loves. But, he reads one of those stories each night to himself now before bed (with the inflection and intonation of each of the actors that reads them online.) I’m glad Nathan can find joy in a good book!
Jacob (12): Jacob is high-functioning on the autism scale and can often be found with a book in his hand. He has even gotten in trouble for reading at school when he was supposed to be paying attention to what the teacher was saying. Jacob took to reading like a duck to water. He has loved reading and devouring books ever since he was old enough to pick up a book. He loves book so much that he has actually written and illustrated several of his own. He started doing this when he was 7 or 8 and would staple pages of loose-leaf paper together and then draw elaborate cartoon pictures with simple stories to go along with the drawings. He is currently devouring a book about the building of the atomic bomb “Bomb,” on the Kindle. Jacob is always asking for more books and could seriously break my budget with his desire to own many, many books.
Noelle (10): Noelle has also always loved books. She loves going to the library, but is more picky about the series she will read. She has enjoyed the Magic Tree House books and the Captial Mysteries. At age 8 she insisted she wanted to start the Harry Potter series, although I think she only made it through book 4 (I did paperclip a few pages together in that 4th book that I thought were a little too dark for her). We all enjoyed the entire Harry Potter series on audiobook this summer. It was a nice break from “electronics” and my kids LOVED listening to Harry’s fun adventures. Noelle has also enjoyed the Fablehaven books, a few of the Anne of Green Gables books and is currently going through the Ramona books.
I have loved reading to my kids since they were young and doing all the “voices” in the books. For me, reading has been a fun way for me to help my kids quiet down at night or go on an imaginary journey in the summer. As they have gotten older have read them chapter books and incorporated audiobooks. You can even find electronic versions of audiobooks with libraries online now.
A word of warning about raising readers and having books in your bathroom: You might not be able to use the bathroom when you need to, because readers tend to spend a LONG time in the bathroom doing their business.