As a lover of books myself, it has come as a great source of disappointment that my oldest, at a whopping 7 years old, has little to no interest in reading.
I suppose it would be like Michael Jordan’s son not liking basketball. Except that I’ve made precisely zero dollars from reading a book, and besides the free personal pan pizzas you used to earn back in elementary school, I have yet to have anyone give me a ring for finishing a series.
While I knew going into this parenting gig that all bets were off in terms of being able to predict anything at all (besides, general chaos), it still made me a little sad to find myself with a reluctant reader.
In fact, reluctant isn’t quite strong enough a word here. I’m thinking more like the kind of reaction you would expect to get if you said something along the lines of “Hey Henry, I think you should go lick that toilet this afternoon…”
Of course I’ve tried all kinds of things to get him interested in reading (including ordering Pokemon books…kill me), but with little success. He’s always seemed interested in my Kindle, but that’s mine and I don’t share all that well.
So when I got an email from Clever Girls reminding me that March is National Reading Month and would I like a Kindle and a year subscription to Kindle Unlimited, I thought “Hmmmm, I wonder if this might help Henry?”
When the box came, he immediately jumped down my throat with questions.
“Mom, who’s that for? But don’t you already have a Kindle? Can I have that one? I’ll take your old one…”
This was going far too easily.
I set the device up (easy peasy), and told him that it was tentatively his. Provided he was respectful of it and didn’t leave it lying around the house for the littles to find.
And for the last several weeks, I find him around the house like this.
Books. That have no pictures. AND I DID NOT ONCE ASK HIM TO DO IT.
He spends some time searching around for a free book download using the FreeTime Unlimited service…and you know what? He’s downloaded a few, started them, proclaimed them “boring” or “lame”…and moved on.
THIS IS GENIUS. They always say that the trick to learning to love to read is to find the right books. As a mom who doesn’t want to blow her budget on dozens of books only to be told they are terrible, this is FANTASTIC.
(FreeTime Unlimited starts at $2.99 per month and kids get unlimited access to hundreds of hand-picked chapter books and early readers, all curated for age-appropriateness, so parents don’t have to spend time and money guessing what their kids will enjoy. FreeTime Unlimited includes favorites, such as the Harry Potter series, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, Big Nate and Friends by Lincoln Peirce, and Newberry Medal and Honor winning books. If you have a Fire tablet or Amazon Fire TV, you can also use FreeTime Unlimited to access to over 5,000 kid-friendly books, games, educational apps, movies, and TV shows.) <---- I copy/pasted that straight from Amazon. If you couldn't tell.
I noticed that he set the text to GIANT. I know his eyesight is fine, so I asked him about it.
“I like the words big because then I don’t lose my place so easy…and I get to push the screen faster to go to the next page sooner than if I had it tiny. I like pushing the screen for the next page…”
A-HA! Unlimited selection and the ability to feel like you are making progress and not be overwhelmed!!! I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before!
Look, while I own a Kindle myself, I’m still the girl who swoons when she walks into a used bookstore. The smell, the yellowing paper, the weird lighting…gah! The best.
But at the end of the day, if my boy can learn to love to read…and it takes a device (and in this case, this is a standard Kindle. He can’t do anything BUT read on it.), then I’ll take it.
Because there are few things more delightful than realizing it’s quiet…where’s Henry…oh, he’s outside READING.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.