Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Stuff Him With Books

I've lost all attention span since trashing my Blackberry for an iPhone. I think that was in 2008. Believe it or not, I was one of the last hold-outs I think. It may have even been later. Not that my attention span was strong before, but I was able to at least read a whole book. I'm a fast reader too. Since the iPhone, I get distracted too easily. I always almost exclusively read entertainment memoirs. Like celebrity, actor, musician, sports star memoirs.

Prior to the phone, I'd get engrossed in a book, and just read all the way through. Now, I'm reading, get into it, and get to a part where I want more information, I pick up my phone and start going down the Google rabbit hole. I do this with magazines too! I was reading People, reading the Jana Kramer (actor/singer) story, where she was talking about being in an abusive relationship with a guy who went to jail for attempted murder (on her).Of course, I started Googling her/him and I forgot to even go back to the article. I'm convinced that's why people stopped reading print magazines. Because you can get all the info online.

When I was kid though, I read ALL the time. I LOVED reading. I can remember two of my favorite books- The Girl With The Silver Eyes and another one I can't remember the name- one girl wished she had this other girl's life. Somehow they did a body switch. The main character knew but the other girl, who was then in the main girl's body, didn't know what was happening. She flipped out and everyone thought the main character lost her mind. It was a young adult book. I read all the Sweet Valley High books lovingly. I read a lot and fast. I just assumed all kids liked to read. No, no. That's not the case. I assumed my own kid would love to read. No, no. That is not the case either.

He just doesn't care. He doesn't have trouble in any subject in school. He's just disinterested in reading. He can read. He loves learning things. He'd just rather be active. Ask him what his favorite part of school is, he'll tell you recess. I'm sure that's typical, but as a parent, you worry. Or at least, you'd just prefer a more cerebral answer.

The lack of reading enjoyment was bumming me out. I want him to love reading. We've read to him almost every night of his life. He'd be into what we'd read him. Just never interested in doing it himself. I would buy him books through the Scholastic order for school, picking things I'd think he'd totally love, and he just wasn't into them. I do think maybe I tried too soon. Before he was fluent enough. He'd get frustrated, then bored, and give up.

For some reason, I got a free three month trial to Audible. I didn't realize Audible is owned by Amazon. I think I bought something on Amazon that gave me this free trial. I already knew I'm never listening to books. I have a hard enough time keeping up with Howard Stern and the For Crying Out Loud podcast, where incidentally, Audible advertises on. I don't need someone reading to me- I need my mind not to wander. Even as I'm writing this, I'm going back and forth to Facebook. I have multiple tabs open and see I have FB notifications I can't let myself ignore.

I got this free trial and with it, I got a book credit for every month I stay on it. I didn't realize this because I never went on the app. I had put in my calendar when I needed to quit so I wouldn't be charged the fourteen dollars and change it normally costs a month for membership. When I opened the app to see how to cancel, I saw I had three credits good for any books Amazon carries that come in audio. I thought- well, if I can't get E to read, maybe it would be good to have HIM listen to voice books. However I can stuff him with the books, it's positive for him. Of course I'd rather have him read, but even with homework, for the past two years, the teachers put on the homework sheet- "Read for fifteen minutes or be read to for fifteen". This would be like us doing it. We'd still do it, but he could do this instead of playing games on the iPad.

Now, the iPad and video games is sort of B's hill to die on. Lax about other things, B hates the video game phenomenon. We NEVER give him the iPad in the house because it's just not necessary. I don't limit "screen time" in terms of the television. I turn that bitch on as I walk in the door and I practically have a tv in every room. HOWEVER, E will do other things when the tv is on. And I don't even always let him watch his stuff. If we're home together, I may be watching General Hospital, so that's just what we're watching. He has never even thought to ask to go in another room to watch his stuff, because the sunroom is just where we hang out and where his toys are. He gets into GH, but he'll also build Legos or Lincoln Logs, Playstix, puzzles, etc. With the iPad, it's just catatonic holding the screen.

The iPad makes both B and I crazy. There is a weird crappy attitude that comes over him with the iPad and we're not having it. When people ask about limiting screen time, I say he's only allowed the iPad on long car trips or swim meets. They think that's excessively strict. But we don't ever use the iPad to watch tv shows or movies so I think that's the difference. We use the tv to watch tv. He doesn't need the iPad to play games because he acts like an a-hole when playing games.

I used my three Audible credits to get three books for E. I put Audible on his iPad. I don't know why but no matter how much the book costs on Audible, it's worth one credit. So I "bought" the first Harry Potter book in the series, because B and E had just read the newest one together and they were REALLY into it. I also bought The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. I thought it seemed Harry Potter- ish. Lastly, I bought a medley of the Ramona Quimby books. That cost like twenty-nine dollars in comparison to the others which cost somewhere between fifteen and twenty dollars. But it was "free" with my credit. Even if I was paying for Audible though, that's part of the deal - you get a free credit a month.

He started listening to Ramona and he said he liked it, but he didn't seem JAZZED. Then he listened to a little Harry Potter and he liked it more than Ramona, but still not taken with it all. I thought, ok, this isn't going to do it. I'll just cancel. Then, the next day, he started listening to The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and something CLICKED. He wanted to listen to it for at least a little while every day. Then, he had library at school. I told him to ask the librarian for something like that book. He did. He was so excited after school that we went to go play on the playground and he said he was going to sit on a bench and read for a little while first. I was VERKLEMPT! That never has happened before. So, instead of running around with his friends, he literally walked over to the bench and started reading. Of course that only lasted like ten minutes but it was certainly a great start!

Then, last night he wanted to read some of it to B instead of B reading to him. Then he asked to listen to some more of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe before he went to sleep. I'm kvelling. Of course you can! Now, he's still gullible and he thinks I have an app that can see what he's doing on the iPad and in life at all times. I just wanted to put that out there so you aren't thinking he's conning us and really playing games.

So I'm here to say, don't despair if you don't have a naturally interested reader. You just have to find their *thing*. I know that seems like common sense, but I really didn't think we'd find his thing to spur an interest in reading. I thought he'd be like B and just not be that into it. Or me with no attention span. I think the last full book I read in a three day period non-stop was Corey Feldman's memoir- I couldn't put it down. If you don't have a kid who seems to like reading, try Audible or some other book on tape thing. I don't even know other alternatives. Someone was telling me yesterday that you can get digital "books on tape" at the library in town. Audible seems to work fine so I'm sticking with it for now. I'll take whatever works!

Update: 9:17p, still reading, p.85!

*I'm in no way affiliated with or getting paid by Audible to write this. 

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