At the beginning of this year, I asked my son to make a list of the best books he’d read lately, that I just HAD to read. He’s a huge reader and I simply can’t keep up, so I wanted a list of ten or so books that I could work on over the course of the upcoming year. He was really excited about the prospect, and came up with a wide-reaching list that includes many books I’d never heard of, none of which I’d read. I’ve made my way through The Lightning Thief, Gregor The Overlander, The Hunger Games, and several more. I’m now working onEnder’s Game. I’ve been really surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the books, and really impressed with the quality of writing that is out there these days (don’t I sound like an old fogey??). Seriously, The Lightning Thief and The Hunger Games kept me up late at night, as I raced to finish!
In a traditional bookclub, members read the same book at the same time. And there have also been a handful of books we’ve read at the same time, like Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games). But I really like reading a list of books Ben has chosen for me. First, I know these are books he’s liked, so it gives me a peek into his tastes and preferences. Second, HE picked the books, so there’s no sense of this being a homework assignment from Mom. Third, it puts him in the driver’s seat — he’s the authority, and that’s something all pre-teens are longing for. And finally, if I read a bunch of books he recommends, he’s more likely to give in and read something I ask him to.
Reading the same books is a great start towards connecting with your kid, but to really build a common language, you need to TALK about what you read. I ask questions along the way. I ask him to explain things I don’t quite understand (or pretend I don’t understand.) I’ll ask him, “So-and-so doesn’t die, does she??” Sometimes he’ll give me a hint, but usually he just tells me to keep reading. I love that.
The only drawback in this whole endeavor is that many of these books are series, and now I’ve got a ton more books on my to-read list! After all, I can’t just read the first book in a series and stop there. The world might end!Tweet