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Husband wants DD8 to stop reading "garbage"


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Help!  Where are all of those studies saying that elementary-aged children who read voraciously will soon become excellent readers and choose to move on to the better stuff  --- even if they are starting with kids' series books?

 

My DD8 is currently reading "Island of the Blue Dolphins," at my request (a few chapters a day for school), and Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden on her own.  She has also chosen titles like My Side of the Mountain and Sarah Whitcher's Story for her free reading.  I love to see her curled up in front of the wood stove with an enjoyable book, even if it is not high-quality literature, and perhaps too easy for her reading level.  I feel that reading so voraciously is helping her fluency, and that she will select the better stuff on her own later on.  I was at the same place at her age, but soon lost interest in the series titles, and started reading the classics instead.  I don't think my parents did anything special to make that happen -- except making a high-quality home library available to us, and reading classics to us from an early age.  They never complained about my book choice or forced me to read something more "serious."

 

My DH is concerned about the quality of books she is reading.  He points to a female relative of his, who still plows through romance and mystery novels and does not read anything of substance.  I think there are relevant differences (said female relative is highly intelligent, but did not have involved parents, a lot of books, or a high level of education in her home).  I am confident that our daughter will move on when she is ready.

 

DH would like to sit down and review our daughter's reading list, and would like me to assign some more advanced titles, such as the complete works of Shakespeare.  I think I can talk him down from that, but would love to be able to show him some articles or studies, or something to corroborate my personal experience and encourage him to leave DD8 alone.

 

Edited by Squawky Acres
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Does it have to be all or nothing?

Why can't she have X advanced requirements, Y medium level requirements and Z free range books?

Perhaps he can make his list of preferred books and you can find quality abridged versions to get her started reading better books?

 

I don't have any articles, just my own situation as an anecdote.

 

My boys read a lot of junk books--a lot. They have probably read 70 +% of the childrens books in our library system by now. They like picture books and stupid little kid books that aren't "respectable" literature in the least. I nixed only the most stupid and unsuitable looking stuff that had a cover + dust jacket that screamed "I am text-based trash" (Capt. Underpants, I'm looking at you.)

 

They were reading on a very high level in 1st grade and I think that it had a large part to do with reading so widely. However, starting in, I think 2nd grade, they got no school credit for junk books. ZERO.

 

They could read as much junk as they wanted so long as they read what I told them to, within the time I allotted them to read them. They are in 3rd grade now and get no school credit for any picture book UNLESS its a high-quality non-fiction book.

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She is 8.  If he doesn't back off, maybe she won't want to read anything for fun, ever.  Shakespeare at 8?  Are you kidding?

 

His expectations are unrealistic.

 

 

I like to read romance novels and mysteries and maybe stuff that you wouldn't like.  I am highly educated.  I am not a bad person because I like to read "fluff."  Real life has enough drama and I don't feel like spending my free time with a dictionary in one hand and a book in the other.  Light, fluffy reading is a wonderful way to spend my time.

 

Let your dd read what she likes.  The titles you listed are quite wonderful literature for a child, by the way.

 

Edited to add:  This is for free reading, by the way.  Of course, for school work, you should have age-appropriate, reading-level appropriate books for her.  Personally, I require 30 minutes a day of this for school.

 

Edited by perkybunch
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Your daughter is 8. Why does she need to read Shakespeare right now?
She has time and I would think that forcing her to not read the books she wants would make her hate reading. It would have with me.
And, I can not imagine reading Shakespeare at 8. I was an advanced reader, but that would have been above my head. So, I think Island of the Blue Dolphins is perfectly acceptable right now. Heck, it's a Newberry Medal winner. It's been a popular book since 1961. I'd say it has some substance. ;) 

Maybe you could offer a balance? You and your dd read a classic together, you read-aloud a classic and all the kids listen? 
My friend was often allowed to read books of her own choosing, but her father also required that when she read a fiction book, she balanced it with a non-fiction of some sort. Maybe try something like that? Add in some biographies, some fun science/history books, etc. 

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Try to find a balance with him, because otherwise this is going to backfire on him. 


As for the relative, she could just prefer those books and it could have nothing to do with what she was allowed or not allowed to read. When I am busy, when I am mentally tired, I don't want to read classics. I don't want to read harder works. I want fluff. And there's nothing wrong with that. 

Edited by Southern Ivy
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I was an avid reader, and got pushed to read depressing classics way too early.

Those made me hate Charles Dickens and religiously avoid any book that was called 'a classic' for quite a few years.

 

There is a balance to be drawn here.

 

The best way for your DH to prevent your DD from growing up to just read a bunch of fluff all her life is to read weighty books himself, for pleasure, and talk about them, again for pleasure, and read books to your DD that she enjoys that are of value.  Is he doing that?  

 

I would add that there is no reason to restrict junk reading unless it has bad grammar or really bad morals, as long as heavier reading is also happening, which it sounds like it is.

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She's eight years old. 

 

 

He is waaaay overthinking this.

 

Trixie Belden at eight does NOT equal nothing but Harlequin romance novels at eighteen. 

 

She is reading age appropriate literature. 

 

Reading level (decoding level) does not equal understanding or enjoyment level.  When a child is fluent in decoding, they can then move on to reading for content. 

 

Show him the lists in the Sonlight catalog.  There are the "lower" level readers (that the kids read themselves, to practice the skill of decoding), and the "higher" level read alouds (read by parents, to give child content they cannot yet read themselves).  This is normal. ;)

 

Read some more elevated lit to your daughter daily, so she can develop a taste for different styles of lit.  Have your dear husband help you make a list that works for both of you.

 

ETA:  something like Lamb's or Nesbit's Shakespeare retellings may work for him...

 

The Mensa reading lists may be of interest to both of you as well...

 

 

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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Perhaps your dh can read some Shakespear aloud to dd and see how it goes. Sometimes adults who are not "in the trenches" daily teaching their dc forget what young children are capable of and how difficult things are (like reading Shakespear and doing algebra). 

 

Your dh will have more influence on his dc, according to research, by being a positive role-model by reading quality literature himself, rather than worrying about a relative's behaviour.

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Perhaps your dh can read some Shakespear aloud to dd and see how it goes. Sometimes adults who are not "in the trenches" daily teaching their dc forget what young children are capable of and how difficult things are (like reading Shakespear and doing algebra). 

 

Your dh will have more influence on his dc, according to research, by being a positive role-model by reading quality literature himself, rather than worrying about a relative's behaviour.

AGREED! 

 

I know that I am very well versed in what a 4th grader should and can do. I've taught them for 6 years. 

However, when it comes to lower grades, I'm constantly finding myself expecting behavior and academics above their level. It's easy to do. 

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I would like to give a shout-out to the Sweet Valley High books which filled many a happy hour in 4th . . . and 5th . . . and 6th . . . and 7th grades.

 

They introduced to me the poetry of Emily Dickinson. In 7th grade I read a SVH book that quoted the poem "I'm nobody, who are you . . . ", and I liked the poem so much that I went down to the library to check out a book of Dickinson's poetry . . . which led me to check out a biography on Dickinson . . . which led to biographies of other famous American authors . . . which led me to check out The Grapes of Wrath (school librarian made me bring in a signed permission note from my mom). By the beginning of 8th grade I had plowed through Of Mice and Men, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and most of Jane Austen. At that point I pulled out our family copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and began reading through Romeo and Juliet . . . for fun.

 

If you have a child that loves to read and has access to good books, it will all work out.

 

If your husband is concerned, then I would assign him Bedtime Story Duty. Sounds like he needs more time with dd, so that he can develop more age-appropriate expectations.

Edited by MinivanMom
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Totally unrealistic expectations. 

 

Yeah...I was going to suggest rolling around on the floor laughing hysterically, but the suggestions to make Shakespeare a read-aloud is much, much better. I'd get him the How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare and let him roll with that.

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I let my DS(8 years old) read anything that he wants as long as he also read the weekly book that I assigned for him to read as well. I try to pick a "good quality" fiction or non-fiction book for him and he manages his reading time to finish the required book in a week. He keeps a reading log and writes how many pages of the required reading book he read in a week.

 

I have a retired librarian friend - she told me to let the child read any book that he wants (content approved by parents) and eventually, they will run out of books in the series that they like (which a parent might consider garbage) and eventually move on to other content. She said that "reading for pleasure" is the only way that a child will be a lifelong reader and taking away books that parents think have no value and substituting with literary classics at a young age might kill their love of reading.

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To play devil's advocate for a minute... I did not move on to quality literature until I started homeschooling. My mom still think Nancy Drew books are the best ever. I know a couple intelligent people (my mom is one of them) who cannot sit down and read a book like Pride and Prejudice. They never made that leap on their own.

 

But the way to help kids discover quality literature is by doing what others are suggesting, and which it sounds like you already are doing. Keep assigning books that push her reading level - books like Island of the Blue Dolphins, not Shakespeare, lol. Read aloud to expose her to books above her reading level. Then let her read whatever the heck she wants in her free time. I bet the vast majority of us voracious readers love to dive into fluff from time to time.

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If he wants to intrduce her to Shakespere, he should take her to a play.

 

I think its ok for kids to read light books as well as more serious ones.Often, the poorly written ones lose their charm.  I also read a fair number of Sweet Valley High books, but after a while, I realized they were pretty bad.  They were all almost the same, the sories were predictable, they used the same phrases over and over again.  By the time I was in high school I could identify that kind of mass market writing pretty quickly.  Now, when I want a fluffy book, I have figured out how to find better fluff.

 

I do think though that a common error is to think that all good reading should be fun and really draw you in, and that once you can read an adult book, you don't need more practice to improve your skills.  REading hard books is what makes you a better reader, and many books that can become favorites can be hard and require perseverence.  I have met quite a few adults who don't realize this.  It sounds to me like that might be the kind of situation your husband has in mind.

Edited by Bluegoat
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Agree with pp that his expectations are whacked - jumping from fun twaddle-y entertainment reads straight to Shakespeare is a recipe for disaster at 18 or 28, let alone at 8 (setting aside the question of whether there is or isn't a place for fun entertainment reads in life).  There is a lot to be said for gradually ramping up the difficulty with school books ahead of time - like the idea of reading the "1,000 Good Books" in preparation for reading the Great Books.  My 9th grade Pre-AP English class took a boot camp approach to getting a bunch of unprepared-for-the-classics kids up to speed - we slogged through several of the "easier" 19th century classics in quick succession, which did work in terms of getting us classics-ready fast, but also ruined those novels for pretty much everyone, probably for life. 

 

My dd9 is like me - reads everything she gets her hands on, easy and hard, twaddle-y and classic (and I was the only person who actually enjoyed our boot camp books - apparently voracious reading of everything was decent enough prep).  She's really enjoyed the Young Reader's Shakespeare series - illustrated retellings of the plays that incorporate a lot of the classic lines.  We have all the ones out, and she has good feelings about Shakespeare because of them.  She's also enjoyed the illustrated classics series - she's interested in whaling because of reading the abridged version of Moby Dick.   We do WWE and I use the selections as a book list - dd9 is usually thrilled to read the whole thing, and the language is more complicated than the more modern twaddle she reads a lot of.  I do have "school reading time", where she has to pick from one of our school book shelves (there's 7 - I'm kind of a bookaholic), but she reads from school shelves other times, too. 

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The Complete Works of Shakespeare?

 

Like, um, Titus Andronicus?

 

Methinks your husband has not read Shakespeare in a few decades...

 

I was a voracious reader kid, read everything, still a reader. My husband was a late/reluctant reader and until he discovered Louis L'Amour around 10 or 12 rarely read for fun. Lots of people would consider those books "garbage" (we disagree) but they hooked him into reading and now I'm one of the few women I know with a husband who reads. This is the age where you want to emphasize that reading is fun. And it's not just my nostalgia for Trixie Belden that makes me say so.

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I would echo the suggestion to try implementing the How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare. It's an excellent book, and encourages memorizing 25 carefully selected passages from his work. My daughter  (8) loves her passages, and we often talk about them and what they mean. Live performances are the best, of course. 

 

As for fluff, my reading was not policed at all as a kid. I read voraciously, and some serious trash (VC Andrews, anyone?). I grew up to be someone who, this week, read from both Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling's mystery pen name, and it is dark fluff) and Cicero. I think it is perfectly fine to assign classics (I do), but not reasonable to assume everyone will enjoy them, or want to read them exclusively. My daughter reads joke books for fun, and whatever, I don't really care, because she's also reading high quality children's literature. 

Edited by greyseal
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Please just let the kid read and enjoy her books for a bit.

Require respectable literature at her level, but don't micro-manage her reading on her free time. Buy literature you feel is worth owning, but freely borrow "garbage" from the library. The kids who can and will read large amounts will develop the skills and discipline to read what is demanded of them. Those who dread and avoid "garbage" fun reads  will wither and welt when forced to read "quality" literature.

 

Not wanting to do something, is hardly the same as not being ABLE to do it.

 

I say this as an adult who is what the western society thinks of as (very) well-educated who has NEVER liked to read (and has been shamed/mocked on this very message board for admitting it).

I do NOT like reading. I just don't enjoy books, I envy those who do. I am hoping that my son will continue to enjoy books.

 

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Yes, I know . . . DH has not read any Shakespeare lately, and is likely recalling his high school English class.  On the one hand, it is a testament to how impressed he is with DD8's reading skills and level of education (he thinks she is eons ahead of where he was in public school), but on the other hand, it demonstrates how out of touch he is with the daily process of educating the children.  He reads/studies quite a bit -- non-fiction, business, theology, woodworking, living-off-the-land types of books, but does not read fiction for pleasure -- hence his horror at the female relative's steady diet of romance novels.  

 

Please let me be clear -- I did not mean to criticize anyone else's choice of reading material.   DH's female relative is an adult and has every right to read what she enjoys; and yes, I do know plenty of well-educated people who read "fluff" for pleasure.  I don't have a problem with that.  I just have such precious scarce reading time in this season of life, that I don't like to fill it with fluff, and prefer more substantive works of both fiction and non-fiction.  When I had more free time, I read some fluff as well.  

 

I plan to go ahead with my program of providing quality, age-appropriate books for DD8 to read for school.  Island of the Blue Dolphins was one of those selections, and I work very hard to supply her with high-quality reading for school.  She enjoys these books, and often reads a lot more of the book than I assign each day.

 

I did try Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare, but she was gagging over Romeo and Juliet because of all of the "kissing and ROMANCE," although she doesn't seem to mind romantic tales in The Blue Fairy Book.

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If he needs a reality check, maybe the mensa booklist might help.

http://www.mensaforkids.org/MFK2/assets/File/Achieve/Excellence_in_Reading_complete.pdf

 

We have laugh over Shakespeare's comedies on DVDs as a family movie night thing. However my hubby wants to hold on to the Shakespeare tragedies until older.

 

What helped was my hubby did the readalouds of the classics at bedtime and found that even he thinks some classics are boring.

 

I read romance and cook books for relaxation, to balance all those math and science readings :)

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Thank you for the How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare suggestion.  I just bought that one, and am looking forward to reading it.

 

Yes, I strongly believe in just letting her read what she likes.  I think she is exactly where she should be as a third grader.

 

It is a beautiful truth that eventually a child exhausts a series.  I remember reading Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, and Baby-sitter's Club books at her age.  DD8's "fluff reading" comes from the library, and then it goes back.  I don't buy her books that I do not want in our personal library, but I will inter-library loan them.

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I wish I could get DH to read to the kids, but he is busy with work, and has other priorities for the children.  He is a very involved father, and teaches them many other things -- such as Hebrew, logic, computers, bike riding and bike repair, basic engineering and woodworking, construction, and forest management.  He doesn't see the value in reading to children once they can read on their own, which is why I am thankful that I am the homeschooling parent.  I do see the value, but don't argue with him about it.  I just continue to read out loud to the children.  We balance each other well, and probably provide the kids with a more well-rounded perspective.

 

Once, he did read them a bedtime story.  It was Julius Caesar.  It was a disaster.  To this day, the homeschool families in our town make jokes about difficult, esoteric books, saying they would make "ideal bedtime reading for the SquawkyAcres family!"

Edited by Squawky Acres
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And you kept a straight face while talking to your husband about this? Impressive!

 

Your husband needs to do two things. No, three. First, he needs to sit down and read the complete works of Shakespeare. Second, he needs to seriously find out what sort of material is age-appropriate for your child - and for that, I suggest nothing could be better than actually speaking to parents and teachers and librarians on the subject. Third, he needs to seriously stop judging other people by their reading and general recreational choices. That's not cool.

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The books you mentioned, I think, are very appropriate for an 8 year old.  Shakespeare is not..  There is a reason that traditionally he has not been taught until High School.  There are concepts not to mention vocabulary that an 8 year old is just not ready for... sex, betrayal, murder, suicide, etc...  It's pretty adult stuff.  I'd stick with Newberry Award Winners if you want quality reading for her, but not necessarily "the classics".

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My husband was similar, but not really at that age!  And in fact, I think several of the books you listed would qualify for good ones!  :)

 

As our kids got older (middle school), it was really important to him that they at least had a good mix.  So some could be completely frivolous, but others should be more meaty.  He was very careful as our girls got older about them reading books that weren't sexist.

 

But Shakespeare at age 8?  I don't think so!  To me, a more meaty book at that age might be a biography.  Maybe you can add a few good age-appropriate biographies to her list?

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Yes, I know . . . DH has not read any Shakespeare lately, and is likely recalling his high school English class.  On the one hand, it is a testament to how impressed he is with DD8's reading skills and level of education (he thinks she is eons ahead of where he was in public school), but on the other hand, it demonstrates how out of touch he is with the daily process of educating the children.  He reads/studies quite a bit -- non-fiction, business, theology, woodworking, living-off-the-land types of books, but does not read fiction for pleasure -- hence his horror at the female relative's steady diet of romance novels.  

 

I believe there have been studies done showing that readers of fiction have higher levels of empathy than those who don't. :p

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Yes, I know . . . DH has not read any Shakespeare lately, and is likely recalling his high school English class.  On the one hand, it is a testament to how impressed he is with DD8's reading skills and level of education (he thinks she is eons ahead of where he was in public school), but on the other hand, it demonstrates how out of touch he is with the daily process of educating the children.  He reads/studies quite a bit -- non-fiction, business, theology, woodworking, living-off-the-land types of books, but does not read fiction for pleasure -- hence his horror at the female relative's steady diet of romance novels.  

 

Please let me be clear -- I did not mean to criticize anyone else's choice of reading material.   DH's female relative is an adult and has every right to read what she enjoys; and yes, I do know plenty of well-educated people who read "fluff" for pleasure.  I don't have a problem with that.  I just have such precious scarce reading time in this season of life, that I don't like to fill it with fluff, and prefer more substantive works of both fiction and non-fiction.  When I had more free time, I read some fluff as well.  

 

I plan to go ahead with my program of providing quality, age-appropriate books for DD8 to read for school.  Island of the Blue Dolphins was one of those selections, and I work very hard to supply her with high-quality reading for school.  She enjoys these books, and often reads a lot more of the book than I assign each day.

 

I did try Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare, but she was gagging over Romeo and Juliet because of all of the "kissing and ROMANCE," although she doesn't seem to mind romantic tales in The Blue Fairy Book.

I actually just recently started Island of the Blue Dolphins as a read-aloud to my 4th graders. The language is more difficult and the sentences more complex than many of today's books. I think it's a great book, especially if she's able to read and comprehend. I don't consider it fluff at all. Sounds like you're doing a good job of providing the high-quality reading. :) 

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Can you sweetly say, "no," to your husband?  Or just smile and nod?

 

 

 

Once, he did read them a bedtime story.  It was Julius Caesar.  It was a disaster.  To this day, the homeschool families in our town make jokes about difficult, esoteric books, saying they would make "ideal bedtime reading for the SquawkyAcres family!"

:lol:

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I believe there have been studies done showing that readers of fiction have higher levels of empathy than those who don't. :p

 

 

Yes, exactly.  I do remember reading something to that effect.  I would love for DH to read some more fiction, as that would absolutely help out in the empathy department.  When I used to argue about the value of fiction, that was one point I made.  Now, I don't bother to argue anymore.  I just go ahead and read what I was planning to read.

 

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I don't read classics. I tend to find them dull and stuffy (with some exceptions). Who cares? I'm well educated and read what I enjoy reading.

 

If your husband thinks your 8 year old should be reading the complete works of Shakespeare, well, at least you can blame it on him when she no longer wants to read anything.

 

Assign what you feel is appropriate for school, and stay (mostly) out of her leisure reading. (Of course, set parameters consistent with your family values.)

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Squawky,

 

I do want to applaud your husband for being an involved dad.  :hurray:

 

(even if he is little off in his expectations...) :lol:

 

I'm thrilled that he cares about what your daughter is reading.  I wish more families today had this kind of concern.

 

Points to both of you. :thumbup1:

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It has been shown that one of the biggest influences on children's reading is what their fathers read.  It was enough to turn my dh from an occasional reader into a constant reader.  So, is your husband reading Shakespeare? Has he made time to take her to a performance? It could be a really nice daddy-daughter evening out. Is he reading to her every day? Talking to her about what she is reading in a supportive way, no matter what she is reading? Does he get excited when she loves a book, even if it is something he might not like? Does he have his own pile of books that he can't wait to read? It matters. It really does.

 

 

Plus, she is EIGHT, that is very young.  She has plenty of time to get onto the classics.  Why make her read something now that won't make any sense to her at her age?  Reading is more than just letting words pass over your eyes. It requires the ability to think and digest what you have read.  She needs a little more life experience before she is ready to even begin to understand more complicated stories.

 

Do you own TWTM?  That has great reading lists by grade. You can work some of those in for her.  But, her free reading his her own. The best way to turn someone off from reading is to force them to read books they don't want to read. 

 

 

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I wish I could get DH to read to the kids, but he is busy with work, and has other priorities for the children.  He is a very involved father, and teaches them many other things -- such as Hebrew, logic, computers, bike riding and bike repair, basic engineering and woodworking, construction, and forest management.  He doesn't see the value in reading to children once they can read on their own, which is why I am thankful that I am the homeschooling parent.  I do see the value, but don't argue with him about it.  I just continue to read out loud to the children.  We balance each other well, and probably provide the kids with a more well-rounded perspective.

 

Once, he did read them a bedtime story.  It was Julius Caesar.  It was a disaster.  To this day, the homeschool families in our town make jokes about difficult, esoteric books, saying they would make "ideal bedtime reading for the SquawkyAcres family!"

 

Maybe you can dig up some non-fiction research on the benefits of reading aloud to children. ;)  The value of the things he's doing with the dc is wonderful, just as the things you do with them. 

 

Also, I agree with a PP that Shakespear is much better watched in a play or movie format. Then the meaning of the language is a lot easier. I just can't imagine trying to explain the meaning of every third word. I don't think I could actually do it. 

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I was trying to recall what the OP reminds me of, and I've got it.

 

In "A Little Princess" there is a student whose father sends her tough books to read and asks her about them the next time he sees her, and so Sarah reads them for her and tells her about them.  If my husband were saying this kind of stuff, I would be inclined to ask him to read "A Little Princess" aloud to DD, little by little every night for a while.  He'd probably see himself in it, and you wouldn't have to say much about it.  It's well into the book before this episode occurs, IIRC, so it wouldn't be all that obvious.  Plus it's a really good book for this age.

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It has been shown that one of the biggest influences on children's reading is what their fathers read.

 

 

Citation? I've never heard this, exactly.

 

I believe there have been studies done showing that readers of fiction have higher levels of empathy than those who don't. :p

 

 

Nor this :)

 

I have heard that readers of fiction tend to have higher vocabularies than people who don't read fiction. Got that off of Testyourvocab.com.

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We are actually reading Little Princess as a read aloud right now.  I'll have to make sure DH is in the room when I read that part . . .

 

Honestly, it is so hard to keep everyone's competing interests satisfied.  I do want to respect DH's wishes and concerns as a parent.  I want him to help set the goals and direction in our homeschool because they are his children as well, and it is our joint decision to homeschool.  He also has more of the STEM perspective as a software company executive, so I find that extremely valuable as well to balance my interest in literature and the arts.  But I hate that "Dad as principal of the homeschool" idea that was popular in certain homeschooling workshops and conventions (when I used to go to conventions).  The non-teaching parent can sometimes be so far removed from the day-to-day teaching that he or she can have completely unrealistic standards and ideas.  It would be disastrous to allow the parent who is not the primary teacher to choose curriculum and reading lists unless he or she has done a great deal of self-education on the topic (starting with reading TWTM).

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The MOST important thing, I'd think, is that your daughter LIKES reading. The key to being a life long reader is the enjoy the act. 

 

I often read unsubstantial literature. I read a ridiculous amount of YA books while finishing my doctorate. I liked that they required nothing of my brain and that I could finish them in a few hours. Think of how many activities we all do in which we aren't at the edge of our developmental level. Every walk in the park doesn't need to turn into a run, you know.

 

Now, there is something to be said for balance, but it sounds as if you're asking your daughter to read age-appropriate, non-twaddle books as well as what she finds interesting and appealing.

 

 

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It has been shown that one of the biggest influences on children's reading is what their fathers read.  

 

I would believe this, my mother's taste tended to classic English literature and contemporary books with a large helping of thrillers. My dad read science fiction and while I do love Jane Austen (and everything by Agatha Christie but those were an accident and only on Mom's shelf because someone had given them to her and she hadn't given them away yet) I primarily consume SF and fantasy novels.

 

My husband and I primarily read on our tablets, I wonder what influence that might have on our daughter? However we do talk about books a lot around her so she should pick up on our tastes that way.

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He sounds like my MIL. She will only watch or read things she can learn from--news, religious programs, DIY shows, etc. She will also openly mock anyone who enjoys novels or sitcoms. Once she was at our house and it was time for my favorite show. I went to watch it in our bedroom because I knew she wouldn't like it. She insisted that I stay with her because she didn't want to run me out of my own living room. She then made fun of or called the show trash the whole time.  

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I often fretted about this when my DS first started picking his own books.  Captain Underpants and the like.  Well, we were purchasing one of said books at this indie book store in town and I was chuckling about the title and the owner of the bookstore said, "Let him pick what he wants, that's how you hook them."

 

I know that's not a study from a peer reviewed journal or anything, but I realized that what I'm trying to do here is to make him hungry for more, not stifle him.

 

 

 

I no longer worry about what he reads for fun. 

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http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/news/5127_a_third_of_dads_are_never_seen_reading

 

http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/resources/practical_resources_info/3153_resource-ideas_using_dads_to_boost_boys_literacy

 

http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/research/nlt_research/262_why_fathers_matter_to_their_childrens_literacy

 

These are broader based on all the different ways that fathers bring something specific to the table when it comes to literacy and their kids.

 

http://www.father2father.co.uk/fathers-reading-campaign

 

This is a book, not so helpful I know, and it is specifically focused on boys and increasing literacy.  Its really more of a pamphlet at 50 pages. It gets quoted often, encouraging men to read more, and to let their boys see them because it encourages them to become readers.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Future-Boys-Fathers-Views/dp/1899120947

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Help!  Where are all of those studies saying that elementary-aged children who read voraciously will soon become excellent readers and choose to move on to the better stuff  --- even if they are starting with kids' series books?

 

I don't know. I looked for them and only found that the studies look at how much and whether, not what.

 

My DD8 is currently reading "Island of the Blue Dolphins," at my request (a few chapters a day for school), and Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden on her own.  She has also chosen titles like My Side of the Mountain and Sarah Whitcher's Story for her free reading.  I love to see her curled up in front of the wood stove with an enjoyable book, even if it is not high-quality literature, and perhaps too easy for her reading level.  I feel that reading so voraciously is helping her fluency, and that she will select the better stuff on her own later on.  I was at the same place at her age, but soon lost interest in the series titles, and started reading the classics instead.  I don't think my parents did anything special to make that happen -- except making a high-quality home library available to us, and reading classics to us from an early age.  They never complained about my book choice or forced me to read something more "serious."

 

Ditto. I read like crazy--Babysitters Club, mainly, and Sweet Valley High. 12th grade reading level from the 4th grade on. My daughter has gotten herself to an 8th grade level (that is where it maxes out) on Rainbow Magic. 

 

My DH is concerned about the quality of books she is reading.  He points to a female relative of his, who still plows through romance and mystery novels and does not read anything of substance.

 

Did she lose her job because her escapism is in books and not on television? Perhaps that's why she's never married? Could it be a contributor to her bankruptcy? Her abandonment of her children? Or is he literally saying that she shouldn't be enjoying romance novels because romance novels boo!

 

My neighbor teaches English and she LOVES chick lit. She also loves Shakespeare. She's incredibly intelligent and has three degrees. Some books she reads are nothing short of trashy... but she loves to read. She also has well-educated parents. So far, her enjoyment of "lowbrow" literature as well as highbrow stuff has not caused divorce, drug use, lack of educational attainment, moral degeneration of any kind or early death. So I guess I'd want to know what the problem is with reading for enjoyment?

 

I think there are relevant differences (said female relative is highly intelligent, but did not have involved parents, a lot of books, or a high level of education in her home).  I am confident that our daughter will move on when she is ready.

 

DH would like to sit down and review our daughter's reading list, and would like me to assign some more advanced titles, such as the complete works of Shakespeare.  I think I can talk him down from that, but would love to be able to show him some articles or studies, or something to corroborate my personal experience and encourage him to leave DD8 alone.

 

I will look at some studies, but first and foremost, has he considered that many children don't read advanced books because they lack the CONTEXT needed to interpret the meanings of the books? Shakespeare is practically a foreign language--the language is as different to English as Polish is to Czech! I mean it's really different. Why the hell ruin it for a child by forcing them to go through it before they are ready?

 

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The non-teaching parent can sometimes be so far removed from the day-to-day teaching that he or she can have completely unrealistic standards and ideas.  It would be disastrous to allow the parent who is not the primary teacher to choose curriculum and reading lists unless he or she has done a great deal of self-education on the topic (starting with reading TWTM).

 

:iagree:   This is why you need to stand your ground on this...in love, of course.

 

 

I do think it's a great idea to print out the Ambleside Online reading lists Y1-Y12.  It's not your curric, no, but it's a sample of a curric that reaches the literary heights  (Check out Memoria Press too.)...and look what their 8yo's are reading.  You don't start with The Complete Works of Shakespeare. :lol:   You do start young with children's stories of a few of the plays. CM moves to one play per term at 4th/5th grade.  Those are preferably experienced as Shakespeare intended, WATCHED in a theatre.

 

You are spot on with having your dd read a wide variety of titles, in both content and reading level. She is building fluency. 

 

The best way to ensure that your dd hates good books and clings to garbage is to require the former and forbid the latter.

 

Nope.  Give her Nancy Drew and put Jane Austin on the "top shelf" for when she's older.  She will read Jane Austin.  

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I think that regardless of what you "let" her read right now, she may or may not choose to read "junk" when she is an adult.  :)

 

In my recollection, the statistical results of letting kids read "just anything" are mixed - but that is because parents can't control what kids like.

 

Do you do read-alouds of great books?  That might be a reasonable compromise.  If she likes listening to them, she may well decide to read similar ones sooner rather than later.

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Well, I like my fluff.  I like Robert Parker and Lee Child.   That's all my brain can handle when I finally have time to read.

 

I grew up on classics and garbage.  I liked both equally.  I can tell the difference. I think the reason I can tell the difference is bc I read both.   And I think it's good to see the difference in various books.

 

Also, I believe just like people every book can teach you at  least one thing

 

 

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I also agree with Tsuga regarding the language difficulties.  My kid received her first Harry Potter for her fifth birthday.  She "could" read it, but it didn't draw her in because it was full of language and context that made no sense to her.  A couple years and a trip to England later, her interest was sparked and she read the whole Harry Potter series (along with hundreds of other books) in the next 6 months, for fun.  (I realize Harry Potter is not to be compared with Shakespeare. :P)

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I read a few dozen of the Babysitter's Club series and The Complete Sherlock Holmes during the same school year of my own volition.  I like a variety of dishes to satisfy my voracious appetite for reading ;).  I went to the library every day after school in 5th and 6th grade; I would fly through a BC book as a fun, imaginative mental break after school, then I'd explore the weightier titles.

 

As a college freshman I listened to a lecture in which the speaker mocked people for wasting their time reading John Grisham novels (my "for fun" reading at the time).  He went on and on.  I managed to not snort aloud a few minutes later when he spoke about how much golfing he did.  To each their own!  If she were only reading twaddle and fighting age-appropriate assigned books that would be one thing, but it sounds like her reading is quite well-rounded for an 8-year-old.

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