Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Required Reading

My son is not a reader.  There I said it.  I said it out loud.  I am a writer and love literature more than just about everything and my son, my own flesh and blood, hates it.  He would rather spend countless hours in front of his computer playing Diablo or Minecraft or, if he's allowed, PS3 or Xbox. 

Each year I cringe when the required reading lists come out (just the name required makes it much worse than it is).  On one hand, I love the fact that he is being forced to read.  I am hoping one day it will all come together and he will think, "You know, this isn't so bad."  Yet on the other hand, summer is summer.  When I was younger, when the final bell rang on the last day of school it was all fun and games until the first bell rang in the fall.  None of this required reading and school work for the summer.  The jury is still out on how exactly I feel about it.  But I digress.

We get the list and look to see which of the many books listed are the worst of the lot.  I try to find something I think he would enjoy but if it's a book, and it has pages, pages that you have to turn with your very own fingers, he's not interested no matter how good it sounds.  I try to read them first just so I can ask him questions to make sure he understands the material, and also to show him, "Mom is reading them and she doesn't even have to" hoping it might make the pill a little easier to swallow.

This year we decided to do something different.  I gave him the month of June.  During the month of June there was no mention of the books.  He was on summer break for one month.  On July 1st, the deal was he was to crack open book number one and read.  I was not going to pester him.  He knew he had two books to read before school started and, going into the 9th grade, I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and the responsibility of getting the books read.  My thought was he should read the first book in July and the second in August.  An entire month to read ONE book.  There would be none of this "down to the wire" stuff that we experienced in previous years where I felt so stressed out and it didn't seem to phase him.  That, mark my words, was not happening this year.

He just finished the first book over the weekend and has started the second book.  The second book is To Kill a Mockingbird.  I read it for the very first time.  I know, a literary classic and I just got around to reading it.  First off, I'm a little confused about the title.  Killing a mockingbird was only mentioned once in the book and very lightly at that.  Why they named the entire story after that small mention, I don't get it.  Second, it was a good book but it is very prejudice and racial slurs are common place.  Come on people.  Paula Deen was fired for less and this book is required reading for school children? 

So here we are, down to the wire.  He has calculated how many pages he has to read everyday in order to finish in time.  I'm not stressing about it - much easier said than done. 

Now, if you want to read some good literature, can I recommend a book by R. K. Avery?  She's really good and the 'N' word is no where to be found :)

Happy Reading!
R. K. Avery