I Can’t Title Serious Posts. Sorry.

by Marinka on November 6, 2010

We had the parent-teacher conferences last week and listened to glowing reports about our daughter. And then we listened to how Young Ladrinka could be doing better. And how he’s not living up to his potential.

(By the way, Mama wants you to know that American teachers are so laid back that if they say ‘could be doing better,’ they really mean ‘has defect or other bad condition’.)

I feel like Young Ladrinka is very smart, but he always does the bare minimum.

For example, he gets a weekly list of ten spelling words. And an additional five bonus words. You’d think that he would study the bonus words too, but he doesn’t. And when I ask him, through gritted why not, he explains that if he studies the bonus words, there’s a risk that he’ll get more than a 100% on the spelling quiz and that it doesn’t make sense mathematically.

So he’s just trying to keep the world spinning and not fall into a mathematical disarray.

He’s practically a hero.

And he’s struggling with reading, which between us, fucking kills me. Because I love reading. I read all the time. He sees me reading all the time. We’ve read to the kids since birth, we did everything you’re supposed to do to foster a love of reading and it didn’t fucking work. I sort of want my money back from Dr. Seuss.

He was an early decoder.

He loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid, he loved A to Z Mysteries and he loved Captain Underpants. He was into the Percy Jackson series.

But his teacher says that he will read a relatively simple book and totally miss the point. It’s a puzzle because he won’t miss the point of a more complicated book, like Percy Jackson. The teacher is not sure what it going on, but he’s been trying to work with Young Ladrinka on the concept of re-reading if he doesn’t understand something, and feeling the responsibility to himself as a reader.

We developed a plan. Young Ladrinka and Husbandrinka will read the same book, and Young Ladrinka will check in with Husbandrinka about it nightly. To make sure that he’s understanding what he’s reading.

So far since we’ve made the plan, Husbandrinka has been in the office late every night, so it’s going great.

I’m so frustrated. And sad. Because now Young Ladrinka feels like we’re forcing him to read, which really sucks whatever joy he had in it right out.

But I don’t see another option.

One year ago ...

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly
Twitter:
November 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Hmmm. Email me? I teach reading. nobabynoblog at gmail dot com.

There are lots of activities you can do to make sure he gets comprehension without taking all the fun out of it.

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mel
Twitter:
November 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Molly, I am so interested in your suggestions because I’m struggling with my 10yr old as well. She looks at reading as a chore and I think this hinders her comprehension.

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Pauline
Twitter:
November 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I am going to subscribe to these comments because we are going through the same thing here with my eight year old and it kills me too.

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Yuliya
Twitter:
November 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Is there any chance that say a baseball player he loves also loves reading so you can use him as a shining example? That’s what my parents used to do to me, shame me into compliance “look at so and so, always reading so smart! why can’t you be like so and so?”

Turns out I can’t comment on serious posts. Sorry.

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marathonmom November 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Ya know, some of that “guided reading” they come home with – yeah, it’s dumb. If he reads more complicated stuff and enjoys it, I would just be cautious. Keep an eye out. Not to totally blow off the teacher, but, at least he’s not making noises with his armpits all day. KWIM?

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Marinka November 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm

He *has* read the more complicated (read–age appropriate) stuff in the past and enjoyed it. But it’s been an increasing challenge to get him interested in books.

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Beth November 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

While I am firm believer and lover of the tactile, book-in-hand, page turning experience…perhaps a kindle or some such gadget might make it more fun? Kind of like playing a hand held game? As a last resort? (there are also a bunch of kindle apps for the computer/iphone/blackberry/etc so as to test run it before spending the money) http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sa_menu_karl3?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

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Marinka November 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

You know, the comments to my blog get emailed straight to my Blackberry, and at the exact moment I got yours, we were in B&N, and he was telling me that he really wanted a Nook. I told him that if he kept up with his reading, it could be a Christmas gift.

I don’t want to be all old-fashioned, “back in my day!” but maybe this is something to consider.

Or maybe I’ll just force him to read off the papyrus scrolls.

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Finn November 6, 2010 at 1:38 pm

If he gets the more complicated stuff, my guess is that whatever they’re giving him is boring him. My son is the same way. He was asked to memorize the passage of his choice, between 1 and 3 lines long. He chose a one-liner. Bare minimum. It kills me.

He had trouble with reading comprehension when he was in public school last year. Everything was “read the paragraph and answer the questions.” It bored me. He’d get stupid stuff wrong. And yet if it’s a subject he likes… you can recite passages from the book to him and he’ll tell you what page they are on. Photographic memory. Drives me insane.

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Marinka November 6, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Sounds similar. I’m worried that for my kid, school is mainly a social situation and that the other “academic” stuff is getting in the way. Glad I’m not alone. Although you probably aren’t!

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By Word of Mouth
Twitter:
November 6, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I have one we call Wiki, who devours everything that crosses her path, takes us forever to return her novels to the library Each Week. Then we have The Princess who acts as though we are torturing her, has an expression that would make you believe her toe nails are being forcibly removed with a butter knife and it kills me … we are a reading family for Gods sake. Not a tv family, a reading family, but she clearly missed that memo.
Have found that giving her books on cd keeps her attention if she is allowed to paint or draw while listening, and will happily discuss the points with you along the way.
I asked a teacher if this was acceptable and she had an interesting point – they are hearing all the words in the correct context and with the correct pronunciation rather than glossing over them. So they are increasing their vocabulary, and its not such a chore and it helps me believe that she might just not smother me in my sleep.
Wine helps 🙂

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Marinka November 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Yes, wine helps!

That is interesting, but he is 9, so he’s definitely at an age where he should be reading. And I’m happy to work with him on finding books that he’s interested in, but the fact is that we all have to read stuff that we don’t love as part of our education/careers, etc.

Hmm. I need more wine.

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K-Line November 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I know how freakishly anxiety producing the childrens’ learning /development thing is. I feel always 2 steps from a nervous breakdown. These days, my child is practicing her French (note home from teacher to tell us she “could be doing better”) on the phone with her friend because – when we try to get involved (in all kinds of fun, game-like ways) she freaks out. When I spoke with the teacher, she did concede that my daughter’s friend is very good at French and is likely a positive influence. But seriously, my kid’s doing her homework on the phone?!

I think it’s some kind of generational thing, this whole underfunctioning mandate. My kid goes out of her way to do the minimum.

Maybe it will make you feel better to remember that you are an incredibly intelligent person, as is your husband (I imagine :-)). The likelihood is that your children will also be competent and smart. Not all kids develop at the same time in the same way (so I tell myself). There’s no “right way”.

But don’t you want to smack the parents with the obedient, hard working, super smart kids who also excel at drama and music?

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Marinka November 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Thank you for making me feel better.
I know that I was a huge slacker when I was Young Ladrinka’s age, and at 12, read Cosmo almost exclusively, so maybe there’s hope. I just wish he didn’t wait until he was in his mid-40s to read “Flowers in the Attic.”

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Harvard to Homemaker November 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm

dunno if it helps but i HAt.e.d school, was kicked out of one, always got D’s at the next, until my parents sent me to a Quaker school where they didn’t have grades and I still didn’t really learn, there was just no letter-based evidence of that fact. I have ended up with a Master’s degree, a love of reading, and a love of learning – I just had to get through the b.s. of elementary and middle school (and half of high school and actually half of college now that I think about it..)

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Marinka November 7, 2010 at 9:43 am

Oh, those Quakers! To be fair, YL is already at a “no-grades” school.

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Jennifer
Twitter:
November 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I have one child who loves to read – she falls asleep every night reading a book. And then there’s my son, who will read if I make him or if has to for school, but won’t often pick up a a book on his own. I’m hoping a love for reading will kick in for him someday.

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christy November 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I wish I had constructive advice for you, but I don’t. I’m sure you’ve already thought of this – but perhaps you can read that same book with him and your husband too? I hope you have some reading teachers reading this post – hopefully they’ll have better advice. This situation would be a nightmare for me too – my husband and I are avid readers…so far, our daughter only has the attention span of a gnat when it comes to books and even though she’s only two, I do find it a little worrisome. Ugh. Hang in there, and hopefully someone will be able to help!

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Jenn @ Juggling Life November 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Please don’t worry too much. You have more to lose by making your son hate reading than by relaxing a little and letting him be who he is meant to be. Read this article: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/a-fathers-acceptance/

I have a son who sounds much like yours. He got good grades because he was smart, but the “A”s were always 91% . His best friend’s were always 100%. Friend is at Harvard and my son is on a scholarship at a state school. Both are happy and destined to be successful.

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Fairly Odd Mother
Twitter:
November 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm

My oldest wasn’t reading decently until she was 7 (and by ‘decently’, I mean something even remotely close to grade level) and that made me BATTY though I tried to control myself. I read, read, read, read and read to her, we did audio books, she was talking in full sentences at 18 months, but it took forever for the written word to look like more than a bunch of letters randomly on a page. My point is that kids’ brains just take their own sweet time in getting everything to connect together to make it all make sense. (that sentence? does not make sense. I blame the beer I’m drinking)

Personally, I’d read a lot of his stuff out loud to him—maybe you could each do a page? At least for the short term, it’d give him a break from reading so much. Plus, if he remembers the harder stuff, it may be that it’s just much more interesting than some of his school reading.

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awesome dude November 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm

There is more then one reason to be sad in this situation.

There are very few areas where I agree with your Mama, but we always saw eye to eye on a matter of education in this country.

Because everybody cannot be great and magnificent in his own way. It is simple a model of convenience for the morons in teaching profession.

They have to make children work and are failing to do it. Regardless of how much you are paying them

There are people who do things and people who fail.

He is at the age when people learn how to do stuff and if he fails this stage it is a bad predictor sign for his future.

Anyhow, observing him at some length I believe that I know what the problem is.

He is a very smart and well-developed manipulator…and this is not a problem. The problem is that he is intoxicated. Now, it is your turn to guess what he is intoxicated with.

If you know the answer, this is great and you will solve this puzzle within days.

If not your phone is welcomed, so you will not have a sleepless night.

P.S. After going through the comments, I have to add that he does not have any problems with the vocabulary or comprehension.

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marathonmom November 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Girls?

Blame Katy Perry.

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Ann's Rants
Twitter:
November 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I have no advice. Except that we can blame everything on I-Spy books.

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tarheelmom
Twitter:
November 6, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I don’t know if this helps but my 12 year old son used to love, love, love reading…started reading early and has always read well above his age/grade level – around the age of 7 or 8 he started to shy away from reading…I tried everything and got nothing but frustration. It seemed to me like he had comprehension issues but his grades were great, he still tested above grade level he just wouldn’t read – he loves sports, especially basketball so we bought basketball books, subscribed to Sports Illustrated Kids, hell, we subscribed to Sports Illustrated…the only issue he “read” was the swimsuit issue. And then last year he picked up the Percy Jackson series and couldn’t put it down until he finished the entire series. After that he moved on to the Hunger Games and honestly, hasn’t looked back. He doesn’t sit and devour books like my 8 yr. old daughter but he seems to enjoy/retain what he’s reading now. Looking back, I wonder if it was a control issue or just a phase? He’s in 7th grade now and doing great…maybe this will pass for you, too. These spawns of ours, certainly know how to push our buttons don’t they!

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Christine November 6, 2010 at 9:49 pm

As an English teacher and the mom of an avid reader, a reluctant reader and one in between, I’m going to recommend non-fiction. History, sports, bodily fluids, it doesn’t matter what the subject. It might keep him more interested and most of the reading your son will do in life will be nonfiction and kids don’t read enough of it in elementary and middle school here in the US.

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GrandeMocha
Twitter:
November 6, 2010 at 10:32 pm

I have the same kid at my house. He & I work on the spelling words until we are both frustrated. He can do it, just refuses to. He spits out random letters. If you find something that works, please share.

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The Kid November 7, 2010 at 3:54 am

My youngest cousin is about ten and he grew up in a family of avid readers, though he himself just doesn’t really like it. He does however love love love audiobooks and will often listen to them innsessantly and quote them to us. He also likes to listen to them while he’s outside kicking around a soccer ball or running flat out on a treadmill. I guess as an athletic kid that made reading more enjoyable for him.

You could try starting up a book club for him. Peer pressure doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, and it might mean more work for you, but you could invite a couple of his friends around and they could pick a book. You could make a ‘fancy’ afternoon tea, just something different to usual, so that it’s special, and the fact that his friends are enjoying reading might encourage him to keep up. Also, reading with a friend is always more fun. If his friends arn’t big readers either you could do it just with your family, and get mama and papa involved too, and make it special for him-something that he looks forward too.
Good luck!

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MommyTime
Twitter:
November 7, 2010 at 7:17 am

My son (1st grade) likes to read but appears to have similar “comprehension” problems with assigned work. The actual problem is that he doesn’t like to talk about what he reads and finds it boring to retell the story to the teacher when the story itself is dull; also, he doesn’t like to be put on the spot by being asked direct questions. Given that he just finished *Diary of a Wimpy Kid*, and can laughingly quote his favorite bits of it to me, I’m pretty sure it’s not that he doesn’t understand that 8 page *Bob Makes a Cake* book he had to read at school one day; he just didn’t like it much because it was “too easy” (his words, not mine). It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to do the work they ask, though. His teacher has hit upon a good solution for him: have him help other kids with their reading when he finishes his own early. Explaining things to other people is a sure way to cement it in your own head, and the more spontaneous nature of that kind of conversation tends to make it easier subsequently to answer the formal questions from the teacher. So, this is a long-winded way of suggesting that maybe a book group or buddy system in school would help. Maybe Young Ladrinka and a friend in class could make up “quizzes” for each other about the stuff they’re reading, or maybe there are other ways that a kind of collaborative model with peers might keep him more engaged than one in which he is answering to authority.

As for what he might like to read, I second the non-fiction idea. I also think that engaging with books in other ways can be good: draw an illustration for your favorite scene; write a different ending for the book, telling what would happen if X had made a different choice; etc.

Good luck. I know how you feel. I’ve been an avid reader since I was 6, and my younger one hardly has the attention span for one long picture book. It kills me. If you ever want a buddy for the wine drinking, call.

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Peajaye
Twitter:
November 7, 2010 at 9:36 am

Plumbers. They have to be smart; they don’t have to read that much; and they can make a really good living.

Otherwise, let’s face it, you’re fucked. Or Ladrinka is.
(Sorry to agree with Awesome Dude, aka Papa.)

I mean, if you don’t get your kids into the “knowledge class” of society, chances are they’ll be struggling financially for the rest of their lives, no? The way I understand today’s narrative is: the U.S. is competing globally now, and if you think the kids in India, China or Japan decide they’re too “bored” to learn things they don’t wanna learn, then I’ve got a wall in Bejing I’d like to sell you.

And this is what all the anxiety is about – in education and in this post and in these comments, no?

I was speaking to a 3rd grade teacher recently, and he was telling me about the school system in Japan – how the kids are tested at all these different ages to determine if they can move on with the privilege of education. The ones who flunk out? Oh yeah, those would be the brainiacs who are hogging up all the top spots in the best U.S. universities.

Alotta folks say that the U.S. still has the lead in critical & creative thinking, but there seems to be an awful lot of that in India and Brazil too.

Awesome Dude commented that Ladrinka is intoxicated on something – is it power? And does Papa feel that Ladrinka needs a firmer hand at home? – meaning: Do your homework; bring home A’s; figure it out. Then you get to play with your electronic gagets or hang with your friends or watch tv or whateva’.

While I think all the comments and suggestions are great here – because different kids do learn differently – and everybody’s trying to get all our kids to be the best they can – life can be harsh. So you probably should be concerned. I don’t envy parents in our society. We mock the development of the mind while demanding our children be naturally brilliant.

So my advice to you is: you need to drop the hammer on young Ladrinka. He’s a bright kid, he’ll figure it out. My guess is that he likes his privileges and will do what he needs to keep them.

Of course, I am childless and have no training in education or psychology, but hey, this is a blog and this is America.

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Marinka November 7, 2010 at 9:50 am

I’m still in the process of responding to comments, but I wanted to address my papa’s (Awesome Dude, if you’re new here!) points.

To end the suspense, Papa is referring to Young Ladrinka’s love of all things electronic. Computer games, the Wii, DSi, TV.

Over the summer, we had an open screen time policy, because the kids didn’t have homework, but we hadn’t cracked down to the school year embargo yet.

But now we have. During the week, he is limited to 45 minutes a day. And he knows that unless his homework improves it will be reduced to 0. It’s a struggle, but it’s one worth having.

I do think that he’s rushing through his homework to get to the electronics, because it’s more fun! And what kind of idiot wouldn’t want to watch TV instead of doing homework? I mean, DUH.

But the reading is different. It’s a concern to me that at school, he cannot recap for his teacher what he is reading. I know that he’s getting it. So I’m really not sure what the problem is. But we’re going to monitor it and work with him on it.

What gives me a lot of hope is that I had a very similar meeting with the same teacher about my daughter when she was YL’s age, and she really mastered the skills that go into becoming a good reader–she internalized the “self-questioning” to make sure that she understood everything. I’m hoping that he will do the same.

God, I’m annoying myself with this comment. Maybe I should work in a car chase or something to make it less yawny.

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margalit November 9, 2010 at 2:37 am

Disclaimer: although I am a former teacher, it was high school and then university level. But I do have the degrees.

There are two things I might want to investigate if I were you. A child who is very reluctant to read anything ‘might’ have a developmental sight issue. Taking him to a developmental opthamologist for a short test will give you the answers to that possibility.

Comprehension issues, especially if they carry over to movies and TV shows “could'” indicate a non-verbal learning disability. An easy way to test reading comprehension at home is to give him a box of brownie mix, walk out of the room, and ask him to make a pan of brownies. You’ll know right quick if he has real comprehension problem, and is so, getting him tested by a neurologist and psychiatrist will at least give you an answer.

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Vicki
Twitter:
November 7, 2010 at 11:39 am

What did Mark Twain say? I never let my formal education get in the way of my learning? He doesn’t always have to be excited about schoolwork as long as he is reading on his own and it sounds like you guys are doing 110% to foster that, even if it’s something that is a struggle to balance with his love of electronics.

I think one of the biggest things is to teach kids the one tool they need to success in academia: to be able to sit on their ass. I.e. They don’t need to be good at something like reading comprehension, as long as they’re willing to sit on their ass and put in the study time until they figure it out. I was always horrible, horrible, horrible at math (still am) but willing to sit for hours at a time until I finally got the problem. And even though I was never an stellar math student and had as much trouble with it as YL and reading comprehension, I eventually got to the point where I was getting As in econometrics. I think that given your vigilance and instillation of work ethic (and, most importantly fear) he will shape up. Kids always end up mimicking their parents in some way. You will probably just have a couple of gray hairs when he does.

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Marinka November 7, 2010 at 4:18 pm

This is exactly what Mama is talking about. I think she calls it usitch–something in Russian.

And I agree–it’s less about genius than hard work. Damn it.

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Karen November 7, 2010 at 11:43 am

He will find the joy in it on his own terms. He sounds like a great kid!

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Keyona
Twitter:
November 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I am having a similar problem with Lael. She’s been reading since 3 so that isn’t the problem. Her comprehension is. But only books she doesn’t care about. I’m not sure what to do about it. Good Luck and keep us posted!

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awesome dude November 7, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Nop,

Marinka is not right.

The suspense does not end here…….

Electronics are great, educational and stimulating.

And whatever stimulation is, short of masturbation, it is always beneficial.

Ladrinka is overwhelmed with something more powerful and toxic then electronics.

And again, I never saw any problems with comprehending stuff. He simply does not want to be bothered.

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Marinka November 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm

What exactly is wrong with masturbation? What are you, Christine O’Donnell.

P.S. Dear bloggers just starting out: You will want to tell your parents about your new blog. Heed my warning: DO NOT. See, above.

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awesome dude November 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I never new about Christine O’Donnell, looked her up now…..she could be a great leader……

She is not a high brow socialist/democrat.

But who said the country needs that kind of leadership?

May be Trotsky……

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Whitney
Twitter:
November 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm

My cousin had this problem and then they discovered that it was because “simple” material bored her. Turns out she’s a genius of sorts. Perhaps that is his issue! I mean, he does have a point about scoring over 100%.

If that is not the case, my parents bribed me to read and eventually I found myself reading things for fun. And now it is one of my favorite things to do!

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Maggie May November 7, 2010 at 2:39 pm

maybe awesome dude is talking about having control.

( no offense to awesome dude, but if my mom started giving her ‘advice’ read: intense, laser weaponry precision directed criticism – on my blog, i’d probably have to start a new blog. and start seeing a therapist. )

this is a very interesting conversation, i’m glad you brought this up Marinka. the one child i have not had these problems with is a straight A honors roll self motivated genius, who since kindy has cared on his own what his grades were and how well he was keeping up. my other son has struggled with the structure of public school- though he did very well, very well- in private school- and the way the teaching/learning is set up. the amount of pressure on kids these days to learn at an exact rate and in an exact way is mind boggling. they don’t have pressures that past generations had, and that is true, but how much worse can it get than the above comments from some, which accumulate in these choices:

Succeed with dogmatic precision and discipline in school, or,
be a plumber who is likely to be soon replaced by some Asian kid who was booted out of his educational system for being twice as good as you.

This kind of thinking is so suffocating I felt dizzy reading it. It’s easy to believe, because the fear grips you. However, I have read plenty of interviews, books and essays on or by successful people who are happy in their workplace niche to know that you can be average in school and still end up financially stable and working at something that doesn’t kill your spirit.

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awesome dude November 7, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Was this criticism?? At all or to some degree?

Offence or not, we are here well beyond that.

The question is not really what will become of him later but why he is not enjoying reading now as much as we were enjoying it at his age.

One more time, criticism as healthy as it could be has nothing to do with it.

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Marinka November 7, 2010 at 6:05 pm

When I was his age, I was not enjoying reading. I was forced to read The Count of Monte Cristo by you and mama, under the threat of having discussions about why I was not reading and how when you were my age, you read tons, blah blah blah.

I remember this very well because we were at that moment emigrated from Mother Russia.

And then when I was 14, you and mama were concerned that I was HugeMoron (good call, by the way!) because I read Cosmopolitan magazine exclusively.
I do love reading now, but it hasn’t always been the case.

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FotoMomma
Twitter:
November 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm

When I was teaching I was always fascinated by my reading groups. Some children loved to read and others just didn’t. Some children could read very complex books and not only understand the storyline, but get through the difficult vocabulary. Others enjoyed literature that had a more direct theme/storyline. A few things that helped the children that either didn’t love to read or struggled with understanding concepts…

We did round robin reading where we all took a turn, including myself, reading a page of the book. After a major milestone was hit or something exciting happened in the book we would stop and talk all about. Giving the visuals we all had in our head, predicting what would happen next, etc. This helped the students who would tend to skip over these major concepts understand how to find the meaning behind the story.

For the children who didn’t like to read, I would include something that they would consider fun. Instead of round robin reading that day in reading groups, we would take 15 minutes to draw a comic with captions that would illustrate something going on in the story and then share. The boys particularly loved this.

I hope this helps!

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awesome dude November 7, 2010 at 6:28 pm

???Everything is well that ends up well””

Am I right on that?

But criticism actual or implied aside, this guy does not read because he doesn’t like or unable to. He is making a little pre-teenage point.

And then, show me one guy on skid raw who will tell you that he was hurt by reading too much of Count of Monte Cristo.

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Claire November 7, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Have you seen this article?
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704271804575405511702112290.html
Also, when I used to teach elementary school, I had some luck getting reluctant readers engaged by using audio books for a while.

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The Flying Chalupa
Twitter:
November 8, 2010 at 12:36 am

Now that my son is two and started preschool – we just had the parent/teacher conference as well (yes, at two. what is this world coming to?). And I can officially say that I hate them.

To be truthful, it’s the little boy conundrum. Boys don’t live up to their potential. LET’S BE HONEST. They’re either too smart for their own good (like Young Ladrinka) or the potential just ain’t there.

If it makes you feel any better, my family is also a “reading” family. And my sister and I were (are) complete bookworms. My little brother? Nope. Not at all. It broke our hearts. And then? In college? He came back to books, to subjects he loved and now he reads more books than any of us. If the foundation is there, he will always have it. That’s what is key.

But right now? He’s just a boy.

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Lady Jennie November 8, 2010 at 8:28 am

You know what? It sounds like he’s above average in intelligence – that comment about mathematical impossibility! The kid sounds bright.

My friend had her son try for a gifted school in NY and she could hear him interviewing and saying “I don’t know” a lot. She asked him one of the questions at home and he got it right so she asked him why he said he didn’t know. He said he was bored by how easy the questions were and figured out if he said “I don’t know” they’d skip to the next section. Needless to say he didn’t get in. But this was a kid who identified an obscure classical piece of music at age 4 that his parents had never heard of (and they’re classical musicians)!

Not to flatter (but goodness knows we moms need it sometimes) maybe YL is too bright for his level.

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Kate Coveny Hood
Twitter:
November 8, 2010 at 10:54 am

Oh I’m sorry. I can sympathize since I love reading and have been told that Oliver’s delays will most likely result in difficulties with reading (which obviously translates into a struggle to get him to do it). This also sounds a little familiar to me though as I was a lot like that in many ways while growing up. If I liked something, I’d excel at it. And if I didn’t find it interesting, it was a “have to” and I just wouldn’t do it. I read all the time, but probably only wrote 50% of the assigned book reports (it still astounds me that I could just not do an assignment – like I had a choice in the matter?!). This made me envision your son investing in the books that he enjoys and only half paying attention to the ones he doesn’t. There may be a reason for it – or it may just be a phase. Either way it doesn’t make life any easier for you. I truly hope it’s the latter and a short phase at that.

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Issa
Twitter:
November 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Do you think that maybe when he doesn’t enjoy it, that he’s skimming it? Instead of really reading it? Just to get it done?

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mel
Twitter:
November 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

My daughter is 10, 5th grade and the same way. Unless she picks the book and is really interested, it becomes a chore. So she is either looking ahead to see how many pages a chapter is or watching the clock or who knows if she is even reading. She loves Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc. I started having her read some shorter book like Number the Stars, but it just sucks that she doesn’t find joy in sitting with a good book. It’s also going to suck for her when she has assigned reading and has to write a report. I fear the day.

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Elinka November 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I came over from mother Russia when I was 2, until 4th grade I was in remedial reading, then in 5 th I was accepted into the mentally gifted program (after some serious pushing of administration by my father- I think they just wanted him to leave them alone). I HATED reading, and my dad could not understand it for the life of him, he forced me to read Alice in wonderland – I cried through it- and never even finished the book (to this day) I did like math though, so I became a CPA. Also when I became a teenager I began reading for fun, now I’m pretty sure I’ve read more books than my parents combined (let’s not discuss quality here). Still though, when I took my SATs I did much better in Math- it might just be a left brain/right brain thing.

Wow that was all me me me. What I was trying to say is that there is nothing wrong with doing the bare minimum with things you don’t enjoy, but I actually think it’s harder in a pass/fail senario. Anyway He could always become an accountant like me 🙂

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traci November 8, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I couldn’t be bothered to read through all 14000 of your comments because reading bores me, so I apologize if this is repetitive.

I kid, I kid. I heard of some cool tactics to stimulate the portion of the brain most utilized with reading comprehension;

When he is watching baseball game, erratically, as a distraction, run in the room and stand in front of the tv (or pause if you don’t want him to stroke out) and ask him what was the number of the ball player is in left field. Obvia, he will know some of this because he knows the lines up, but it helps in the pep rally way. Or which jerseys are they wearing, home or away? Was the ball left on the mound after the inning, etc.

Either way, Marinka. Don’t fret. Clearly you’re doing a fab job. And if he just can’t get in the swing of things, at least he has his looks.

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Sophie@Fabrications November 8, 2010 at 11:30 pm

You got it wrong. It’s the teacher’s fault. She just wants you to feel like she actually is paying attention to young Ladrinka. It’s all crap, and made for you to have the feelings described by your mama + heavy guilt.

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Kasey November 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

I just stumbled on your website today and was reading back posts and this one resonated with me. I’m a reader, always have been. I read far above my grade level all through elementary school…but I was put in the lowest reading level in my classes time and time again. Why? Because I thought the stories were silly and the questions at the end of the stories were pointless. I wouldn’t do the work because I didn’t see the point. I’m sure it drove my mom crazy, especially because she knew that I had the ability to do the work. As I got older and the reading became more challenging and we moved into analyzing the works we read, I became much more engaged and interested. I did the work. So, it may not be that comprehension is the problem, but a lack of seeing the point. I was never a fan of busy work, if I couldn’t see the point in what I was doing, it often made it very difficult for me to power my way through an assignment.

Thank you for letting me share my experience and I hope all works out.

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