by Rebecca Stevenson, author and friend of Book Harvest
(originally published 7/19/07 on her blog: http://birches17.blogspot.com/2007/07/everett-reads.html)
Everett has been a strong reader for about a year now. He reads fluently, and with expression. And he can read Long Books: this past school year, he and I read the entireHarry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone together.
The problem is that he doesn’t like to do it.
This baffles me. How could anyone not like to read? How could any child of mine not like to read? I did everything they told me to. I read and read and read to him– in infancy, even. In utero. He loves to be read to. He listened attentively and with appreciation toJohnny Tremain when he was six years old, for crying out loud. And he can decode virtually any word you put in front of him. But he says he doesn’t like to do it.
Of course this isn’t entirely true. Everett gets armloads of books from the library and reads them all the time. But they are Comic Books. Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and, lately, Tin Tin and Asterix. The latter, especially, I like. But why not a good chapter book? Why not an adventure that includes some description, or some serious character development?
And then, the other morning, he reported that he’d read not one, not two, but three (3) chapters of Eragon before falling asleep the night before. I couldn’t believe it. I could hardly contain my glee. I had suggested it to him, in fact, as he had carried the book around with him all day, studying and trying to repeat the spells that are described at the back. But when I told him, tucking him in, that he should try reading the Book Itself, he balked. “Do I have to?” he asked me.
So when he’d finished the first three chapters, I tried not to get too excited. Everett needs no over-enthusiasm. It’s just the sort of thing to make him change his mind about something. So I said very little. At least, I said as little as I could, given that I was Absolutely Overjoyed.
And the next night, Everett was at it again. Reading Eragon. Now several chapters in.
I asked him in the morning how it was going. “I don’t know. I don’t remember,” he said, and I panicked. He’s not really reading it, I thought. But then the details came: “Oh yeah,” he said, “the egg hatched.”
I just tucked him in a little while ago. His reading light is on, and he’s reading away. Chapter 12, in fact.
I think maybe he’s decided that he likes reading after all.