Like Reading?

Kids often tell me they don’t like reading, except for things they like.

What the heck?  I can’t tell you how many zillions of times I’ve heard this.  Somehow we’re giving them the impression that  these People Who Like Reading that they’ve heard of and know about like reading everything.  When I encounter this, I assure whomever it is, up one side and down the other, that this is not the case. I know because I’d make a good Exhibit A.  I love reading things I like and want to read, and I detest reading anything I don’t like and don’t want to read.  It sounds ridiculous.

One way we could probably curb this confusion is to stop saying simply that we love to read.  It’s usually not true, anyway, without the rest of the sentence.  It’s like I was saying here about finishing the sentence to make it true.  Unless you really just plain love to read anything that’s put in front of you – love it for the reading of it and not anything to do with the content – you could do many kids a great service by saying something like “I love to read when the writing’s really good,” or “I love to read books that are about people like me,” or “I love to read road signs,” or “I love to read magazines.”  Then they’d start to get a more accurate picture of this reading world of ours, in which we all have taste and rarely read just because there are words in front of us and we want to spend time reading them because we don’t have anything better to do.

Let them know there’s something in it for you, and then they’ll have the freedom to find out whether or not there might be anything in it for them.