My older son, Big E, is a sophomore. He has a challenging course load. He is in the honors track for English, Algebra, Chemistry, and Political Science. He is also in marching band, which fills his schedule in the fall. He struggled a lot with honors English last year, and I really questioned whether he should continue at honors level this year. He really wanted to and we agreed to let him. I feel frustrated with his mediocre grades but try not to be a perfectionist. What really bothers me though, is he does not like to read.
I read to him in the womb. When he was born, we chose Atticus for his middle name, after Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. His earliest “toys” were board books, Pat the Bunny, Goodnight Moon, Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs and the whole Sandra Boyton collection. When he was a toddler, we spent hours with Dr. Seuss, Arthur, Little Bear and Thomas the Tank Engine. When he was four, he started reading to us. It started with Where the Wild Things Are, which he may have memorized, but soon he was reading and loved to do so.
All through grade school we read as a family every night. Junie B. Jones, Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket. Of course we included your childhood classics, Watership Down, A Wrinkle in Time, Bridge to Tarabithia, etc. We finally decided both kids were ready to experience the book that I loved from first reading in 8th grade, the book that shaped my morals and impassioned my love of justice and longing to be a loving parent, To Kill A Mockingbird. The boys liked it. We watched the movie. A little while later we read it again.
Somewhere along the line our bedtime readings gave way to bedtime audio books, listened to in separate bedrooms. Somewhere along the line, audio books fell to T.V. And somewhere, Big E lost the joy of reading. He now says he hates reading. Ouch. How can this be? I realize it may be a phase. I realize it may be a personality trait or just something we differ about. He is becoming his own person with his likes and dislikes that are usually quite different than mine. It’s hard to let them grow up. He has a C- in English right now. He got 2 Cs and an F on the last 3 quizzes. I implored him to read and study for the final test and he got a C. What book are they reading? To Kill A Mockingbird! I don’t understand what he could possibly not understand about the book at this point. I think I need to read it again and ask myself, “What would Atticus do?”
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