A Love For Reading – Something Genetic Or Nurtured?

I cannot tell you how hectic it was for us going back to school this year.  Except that, I totally did tell you.  Because I have no secrets – my life is an open book.

Having a Grade TWO and a Grade ONE at school has been an interesting transition for all of us.

Last year I could send Knox and Riya off to entertain themselves while Kyla and I curled up on the couch to do her reader.  I still had time for extra murals, lots of play dates, making supper and even the occasional spot to read on the couch while the kids played outside.

Now it’s a totally different ball game.

I have to juggle Riya learning to read and Kyla working through even harder books and more homework from the other subjects.  Which sounds totally possible right?  But when you factor in ballet twice a week (that only ends at 4!), sports hub and needing to feed my family healthy food as opposed to takeaways every night – I was feeling like I was dropping all the balls.

But this last week has been a lot better.  And I think it’s because I finally just gave up.

No, I joke.  I didn’t give up.  Not totally anyway.  I just gave up the image of perfection.  That’s so not me anyway, I don’t know who I was trying to kid by trying to squeeze it all in.

Anyway.

What’s been really interesting to me now, is having two girls that are in school.  With Kyla I didn’t really have anyone to compare her to.  You know, to see how well she’s doing in her reading, her maths, her art or whatever.  But now with Riya doing the very same things so soon after, it’s easy to see where she’s at in comparison.

Which brings me to reading.

And yes, I’m going to bring this up because I freaking LOVE reading.  I could spend an entire weekend holed up in a corner with a good book.  In fact that’s how I got through the Harry Potter series back when I was in high school and had no social life.  I finished a book a weekend.  It was a glorious time of my life.

However, my husband is just not a reader.  A critical thinker capable of crazy intricate mathematical things I can’t even comprehend, yes.  But a reader?  No.  A guy that can draw anything you ask him to on the spot and actually make it look like the thing you asked him to draw, yes.  A person who wants to sit down with a book without being forced.  Nope, nope, nope.

So I don’t know why I was surprised when my first born displayed her Father genes so strongly.  Reading?  It’s just not her thing.  And like her father, she can draw and do maths like no bodies business.   Which is why I know that it’s totally silly for me to say this, but I was heart broken.  Really.  We have few things that we share an interest for and I was hoping that this would be it.  But alas.  She doesn’t enjoy it.  I think it’s mostly because it’s still not easy for her.

My second born though?  So my kid.  She has eased into this reading thing like she’s been doing it for years already.  Of course she still struggles – I’m not saying she’s like, um, some fancy writer like, um, damnit, I can’t think.  Oh, Shakespeare or anything.  But she’s excited for it, wants to try and work out the words and just like, gives a crap about it.

Which begs the question.

Can you nurture a love for reading or are we as people just genetically predisposed to be a certain way?

I must be honest that I thought that it was not possible to change her stance on reading.  Which made me sad.  But then after chatting with her teacher I realised that I may have been a bit hard on her.  You see, I wasn’t sure how much to help her and how much she had to try and figure out by herself.  So instead of saying the word for her, I’d let her sound it out.  Or if it was really hard we’d break it up and then sound it.  Which meant that reading was taking up FORTY FIVE MINUTES a day you guys!  Who even has that kind of time to spend frustrated.

So what we’re going to do now is that I’ll read it through with her first and then she’ll read it to me afterwards.  No stressing on the hard words – just telling her.  And some flash cards that have words that she consistently struggles with.  Here’s hoping nurture wins!

Also, some photos of a random afternoon in our house – taken with and by the kids.  When did we have time to take things like this?  Well, it’s with all that free time we have again 😉

8 thoughts on “A Love For Reading – Something Genetic Or Nurtured?

  1. I have half a post written about the same subject – but with a slightly different angle – look out for it in future – I believe that yes, there is genetics and yes there is growing the love but it take one book – the RIGHT book!

    • This is also true! I’ve tried so many different kinds of books and they like it when I read to them but they just aren’t at that stage of really committing to reading like, The Faraway Tree on their own yet. Also, I’m looking forward to your post on this!

  2. I have a daughter (8) that loved books since she could start touching them and a son (5) that hated them since he could first throw one. I use to joke that for him a book is a ball that doesn’t bounce. We’ve bought all types but he just didn’t care. Then my daughter said she wanted to join the library, and I signed them both up. At first 5 year old was just running around in there, but on our last few visits he was excited to go and he loves choosing his own books and actually sits on the library floor to start paging through because he can’t wait until he gets home.

    Maths on the other hand is a whole different issue with my daughter….

  3. I’m just like WHY does homework take this long…is it normal?!?! And we’re only doing grade R! I wonder if the reading is also a girl vs boy thing as I know very few men who enjoy reading but plenty of women??? As a side – I LOVE your dress!!!!

  4. I find this so interesting as I’m going through a similar thing with Rachel! She has started reading this year and is sooooo passionate about it and I wonder if it’s something I’ve done or if it’s in her blood?! I am also married to a non-reader so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I’m overjoyed at her enthusiasm.

  5. dunno if this is relevant, but it seems like they are teaching kids these days to read by “memory”, i.e. remembering the “look” of entire words at a time, instead of sounding out every single letter, especially “high frequency” words. somehow different than how I learnt to read many moons ago…. do agree about genetic component… I am SO SO SO bad with reading bedtime stories (really don’t like doing it), but children seem to be voracious readers nevertheless, just like their mom.

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