Sunday, October 17, 2010

teen (reluctant) read week

I think we frequently label kids -- especially boys -- as "hating to read."

It's kind of like assuming a kid "hates to eat" because he doesn't like brussels sprouts.

Kids naturally do love to read. Remember how exciting it was when you first started reading words and turning pages on your own? Remember the thrill of those three-word-long sentences?

If you're a parent, chances are, you can also remember how your own kids came home from school -- thrilled to be carrying a little, frayed, Golden Book (or some such thing) that they could read on their own; and how proud they were to show off the rickety first words they could scrawl?

Kids do love reading (and writing).

So why do kids (boys, especially) come to "hate" reading and writing when they get into their teens?

Here's why:


Ah... variety.

But brussels sprouts are good for you. And we know what kinds of things are "good for you" to read, too.

There are no more choices for kids in schools. We've taken them away. We're even beginning to take away choices for kids at universities (yes, I'm talking about YOU, SUNY).

There are lots of reasons why this is happening, prominent among them financial concerns, but the result is that we end up compressing all our brilliant young minds into the center -- creating a mass of uncreative, uninspired mediocrity.

Kids do love to read, and write, and be creative. And I can prove it.

But it's a secret that schools don't want anyone to talk about.