Sounding It Out

I love to read.*

When I am able, I will devour a book whole in a night or two, ignoring everything around me and losing myself inside the pages.

My son is now reading, and I want him to love every word. I want him to realize how amazing it can be to escape into a book and enjoy a story so much you read it again and again and again.

I worry though, because at this point, reading seems to be a chore for him. It’s starting to become enjoyable as his comprehension grows and the struggle of ‘sounding it out’ doesn’t cloud the magic of the words.

He’s mostly clouded now. The mechanics of reading pain him more than the words entertain him.

I realize he will grow in the process, and maybe I am just overly-anxious because I understand what is just around the bend.

But there is no guarantee he will love to read. He might, he might not. His sister might, she might not. My visions of sharing with them my first copy of Catcher in the Rye or Little Women may fall on deaf ears.

Or maybe, if we continue to practice, he’ll get over that hump and find that section somewhere in the library or bookstore where he begs me to bring home everything on the shelf.

A Mom can hope.

*this post was inspired after reading 13-year old RJ’s blog this morning. I hope my kids read and write with the passion shown by this young woman.


  1. It broke my heart that my son hated to read, and my daughter only read for school while growing up, even though I did my best to infuse them with the love of stories.

    However, my son grew up to be quite the verbal storyteller, and my daughter is now, at 27, an avid reader. Things clicked, just not as I expected them.

    I was a book geek growing up. I exhausted my local library, and was reading from the adult section when I was 9. To say that books raised me would not be a misstatement.

  2. I worried like crazy that my son hated reading, and wondered if he had been switched from me at birth. But as he gets older (he’s now 10), he is starting to catch the bug. I have to remind myself that his tastes will be vastly different from mine – he’s all about non-fiction. Preferably gory, shocking, and demented nonfiction. But it’s his thing, and as he gains fluency in reading, I find that he’s more willing to endure the odd short story or chapter in my beloved fiction genre. Think “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” or Captain Underpants.” Now my girl, she’s another story. At 8 she is devouring every book in sight, and although she can’t spell for shit, her writing makes my shrunken heart go pitter pat.

  3. Thanks for the link!

  4. I don’t know for sure, because my sons are under the age of two, but I would think (and hope) that it’s a normal stage that children go through before they get to the point where they like reading… I really hope my kids love reading too.

  5. divrchk says:

    My husband and I were just talking about this last night. My 6 yo was reading to us and it was a more difficult book with huge paragraphs on every page. He didn’t want to read the story, feeling too overwhelmed by so many words, some very difficult. I told him how I used to hide books under my pillow and read in the dark after my parents tucked me in. My husband said how he did the same. I told him that the more he reads, the easier it will get and it will go so much faster and not be so frustrating. For just finishing first grade, he’s reading on a 3rd grade level (or higher) but it’s still so frustrating for him. I hope it gets better soon because he HAS to love to read.

  6. As a teacher, I see a lot of boys who struggle to read it seems. This morning on the Today show, some expert was talking about kids and reading and she insisted that you have to get them interested by age 8, or you lose them. I’m not sure that is exactly true, but it doesn’t hurt to encourage it at an early age.

  7. My boys both struggled in school with reading and I thought they would never pick up a book for pleasure. But now at 18 and 20 they both devour books. My 18 year old has no less than 25 books on his summer reading list before he heads back to university. The trick in our house was to always have books around for them to read. It doesn’t hurt that I can never say ‘NO’ when they’re with me in a bookstore 🙂

  8. My advice? When they get a bit older, introduce them to one book from a good children’s series. When you hit one they like, feed them the rest. Brian Jacques’ Redwall series is what did it for me when I was a kid. Now I devour books like you wouldn’t believe.

    Sure, it’s a few years off, yet. But start scoping these things out.

  9. My oldest is learning to read and I make every effort not to make it a chore. As long as it’s fun family time he’s excited to sound out the next book.

  10. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my daughter will love to read. She would sit for hours on end while we read to her, but I’m afraid she’ll get frustrated when it’s time to learn. Both of my parents and my siblings all love to read, too, so I’m hoping it’s genetic!

  11. I taught before I had my girls and I confess I am not a big “reader.” I love a good book, but I would rather write than read or create or do other things. As a child my mom had to bribe me to read! I only wanted to do the bare minimum where reading was concerned. However, mysteries were my thing. I think all kids have their genre, or that author that gets them excited about reading Now I have one little firecracker of a daughter that loves to read way more than I did as a child. I will continue to encourage her but if she decides she is into something more than reading it’s ok. I think the important thing is that we help our children find things they can be passionate about. 🙂

  12. Like you, I can consume a book in record speed and love to read. I read to my kids all the time when they were young and they fell in love with words. My daughter (now 20) consumes books like I do. My eldest son (18) has just recently re-learned to enjoy reading. (He doesn’t like reading all the school required stuff, but does love reading for enjoyment.) My youngest son hates to read. Hates it. It makes me want to cry. I think all the school required reading of boring texts has turned him off. I hope someday he’ll learn to love it half as much as I do. His teacher’s tell me he’s a gifted writer … how can you be a writer and not love to read? Sigh ….

  13. I’m not sure how old your son is but somewhere around age 6-7, he will become obsessed with Captain Underpants books to the point that you will beg for illiteracy.
    I, too, am an avid reader, and it hurt me when my kids viewed it as a chore. But after they’d mastered the mechanics, it was a matter of finding books that grabbed them.

    Being in an environment where he sees you enjoying reading can only help. Hang in there.

  14. ME too! In fact I am frustrated as right now I have scoured the house and can’t find a book I haven’t read at least 2 times….Another trip to the book store.

  15. This post made my heart jump right into my throat, because my 6yo son is in the EXACT place with his reading. And no matter what I do I can’t get him to understand that once he gets past this part, he’ going to love it! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one anxiously waiting…

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