I strongly believe one of the best thing you can do for your kids, from infancy, is read to them every day.
My kids are now 10 and 7.5. I’ve always been lax about filling out their reading logs. My oldest had to start completing her own last year, and because my oldest is diligent about nearly everything in her life, I don’t have to worry about her reading. We had a much harder time with my youngest. He seems to like reading books online and prefers nonfiction, especially Minecraft strategy books. I can’t justify Minecraft/Pokemon books; I’m a very lenient person who lets her kids read nearly anything but even I have limits.
My oldest had a fabulous teacher last year, and when I went in for a conference she told me that even at this age, kids love to be read to. I’ve tried reading books to them before but it never quite stuck. So for my New Year’s resolution this year, I said I would read aloud to my kids nearly every night.
We started with The Hobbit, which admittedly was a very ambitious choice on my part. Both my kids were into it, but for them the high point of the story occurred relatively early in the book, when Bilbo met Gollum and they tried to trick each other with riddles. My son got bored almost immediately afterward, and to be honest, I didn’t blame him. A lot of the book is a group of men talking about where they’re going to go, then reaching their destination, then getting into trouble and out of it. The cycle repeats about 10 times. My daughter has a much better attention span, but got impatient when the group refused to follow directions and stay on the main road.
Not even a talking, vindictive dragon or a battle among five armies could interest them near the end.
When I’d finished, my daughter wanted to know why none of the characters in the book were women–she’d sworn Fili was female–and just sulked awhile after I told her I didn’t know.
We watched the first movie in the Hobbit trilogy this afternoon, and I was surprised that my daughter watched most of it, but she had remembered most of the book and, again, has an impressive attention span. Much like when I read them the book, they were most excited about Gollum. Interestingly, my daughter thought Thorin Oakenshield (played by my pretend boyfriend Richard Armitage) should have had a more majestic beard befitting his royal status as Prince of the Dwarves. “Even Bombur has a better beard,” she complained, and she had a point: Bombur was the large bumbling dwarf who at times has to be rolled places.
Our next selection, The Phantom Tollbooth, was much better received and we are working on Peter Pan right now.