2 minutes reading time (301 words)

My Reluctant Reader

Students entering 4th grade have to pick two books from the summer reading list. I'm worried. It's my son's reading habits. He has none. He won't pick up a book unless I force him.

Oh, I've tried to make reading fun. We've had charts and we've set goals. I've given him rewards and prizes; I've bought him interesting books. Captain Underpants, for instance. I figured he'd appreciate the cartoonlike drawings and the mildly subversive message. He read the first book, so I bought him two more.

But last night when I handed him Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets, he said he's bored with the series. I nearly pulled out my hair. (I really wanted to pull out his.) I mean, come on! Two boys who hypnotize their school principal into stripping down to his skivvies and flapping around like a superhero? Rampaging toilets that eat the lunch lady and assorted other school personnel? What could be funnier? Honestly, I don't know where I went wrong with my boy.

I desperately want him to love to read. I surrender hours at a stretch to good books. My daughter absorbs Newbery Award-winning books and trashy teenage novels indiscriminately. My husband falls asleep with a book on his face every night. My parents read. My brothers not only read, they also listen to books in their cars. This is what we do. We read. It never occurred to me that I would have a child who could open a book and not be hooked.

I hope my son will eventually stumble onto the joy of reading. I guess the only way that'll happen is if I continue forcing him to pull out a book every night. But really, I don't know where to go after Captain Underpants. That was my ace in the hole.
Goldilocks Parents
Hitting the Books

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