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The Book Loather's Club

My daughter does not want to read. She does not like to read. Hates to read sounds about right.

This poses many difficulties in a family that likes to read as much as mine does. Going back to my childhood, so intense was our love for reading, I believe I am permanently stunted when it comes to verbal communication. All my family did at our breakfast/lunch/dinner table was read. My dad read business magazines, mom read mysteries, and I read about horses. My sisters read too. We brought our books to restaurants, sporting events and on vacation. I was the kid reading on the playground, preferring fantasy over the reality of my peers who weren't horses. I wasn't popular but I had a good vocabulary and I knew a lot about horses.

All of her cousins who are around her age like to read.

Then there's my daughter who doesn't like to read.

When she was 2, or so, we had letters you could stick on the bathtub wall. Those she'd name. She'd name them things like Sara and Danielle and those names were interchangable. On any day they could be assigned to "G" or "Z", "K" or "D". It didn't matter since she had assigned the letters roles like "mom" and "sister" and was using them to play house.

What she dislikes in books, she makes up for in creativity. Just a few of the ways she's devised to get out of reading:

1. Tantrums

The tried and true. But now ignored. I had only paid attention when I thought it might be demonic possession, rather than the book, causing her head to spin. She will read until she comes to a word she doesn't like. The word can be one she doesn't know. Or one she just doesn't like the looks of. Like the word "anteater." She knows the word "ant" and the word "eater" but together it looks too long. If there is a picture of an anteater she will guess at the word. If not, and she's not in the mood to decode it, full out tantrum time. Which is then ignored. (But mom here seethes at having to wait it out.)

2. Distraction

Book = boo boo or illness which needs immediate attention. She is now smart enough to add "You don't care that I'm hurt. You care more about the book than me." She can work herself into a state of tears convincing herself this is true. Theatrical agents, call me.

3. Alternatives

There is one alternative for not reading and that is doing math. She chooses to do math most of the time. We should be on calculus by next year. Of course, she will not be able to read the word problems.

4. Eye problems.

I sat down to read with her and she told me she couldn't see the words. A $200 trip to the optometrist said she can see the words. Yes, the words no longer look "watery."

5. Mock dyslexia

For a while she was mixing the letters up and confusing easy words like "My" and "Me". Turns out she just wanted to be done with the reading so she'd attempt to guess her way through the story, hacking away at it like an elephant through the brush. Ironically, she'd work up a sweat of frustration when the stories didn't make sense.

On the sunny side, the more words she learns, the more she enjoys reading. She is also a much better verbal communicator than me already.