Yesterday, I realized that my eight-year-old (who was just eight a few days ago) hadn’t read a book in 48 hours. Well, perhaps he’d browsed through a few, but he’d really become enamored of some toys he got for his birthday.
Perhaps this isn’t concerning for you: A boy who doesn’t read for 48 hours during his summer break. But for me, reading is like tooth-brushing. If you don’t do it every day, plaque will build up. (Plus, I had recently read this NYTimes story about how boys don’t read. And don’t even ask how many boys keep reading in Arabic.)
So I realized that, despite what I’d thought, I do have some tricks up my sleeve when it comes to making a child read.
Dirty Trick #1: I picked up an engaging, fun book and started reading it “to the baby.” Generally, when I put it down to go do something else, the eight-year-old will continue where I left off.
This time, Trick #1 didn’t work. Although he was listening attentively (قصة و كوسى and the others in that series are good here) and he went back to his toys.
Dirty Trick #2: Refuse to let him read. I began the book again, and when we went to pick up the three-year-old from حضانة, he asked if he could keep reading. “No!” I said. “You can’t read without me! I want to know how it turns out.” We struggled. I refused. I finally gave in.
Dirty Trick #3: At night, when we were all on the couch and thinking of watching a movie, I picked up a book (it’s hard to find something enjoyable to all of us; fortunately, the three-year-old had fallen asleep) and began to read. Family story time is my favorite dirty trick of all.