Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How we read

I am a reader. I once read a letter from a mother who was concerned that her child read too much. She said he read compulsively --- books, magazines, cereal boxes, toilet paper labels (ok, I added that part. That's probably just me.) I am like that child. I can read upside down and have to force myself not to read things on people's desks when I talk to them. If I have a minute, I will pick up whatever is there, even a magazine on skydiving, and read it.

Unlike that mother, I'm not really concerned about my compulsive reading. I'm a little concerned about my two older children not reading so much, but I try not to obsess on that either. I think reading is important for many reasons, and my sons do read when they need to, but they will probably not get the joy out of reading that I do. Of course, I won't get the joy they do out of video games or movies, either.

In the Minds of Boys, Michael Gurian & Kathy Stevens discuss how boys and girls deal with reading differently. Physiologically, girls are more tuned into words, tones, emotions. Boys focus on action and getting the information they need. This is not to say boys don't enjoy reading, it's just they come at it from a different place.

When I read, ideally and not upside down over someone's desk, I curl up on my bed, in the hammock, or in the bathtub (all no-no's according to the chiropractor) and lose myself in the story. Often, I "hear" the story as I read. It plays like a film in my head. Sometimes I'll start and realize that all of the commotion is only in my mind. I often get personally involved with characters, giving them advice and nagging them when they won't do what I expect. I imagine having coffee with them and talking about their lives. I know, I'm weird.

Gurian tells a story of a woman who started a family tradition of reading with her boys. She said they liked it, but when they got to be 2 or 3, they couldn't stay still. Using an observation by her father-in-law, she started letting the boys draw or play quietly while she read. She said they still got it, but they were able to concentrate on the story and not on concentrating.

I think I'll spend some time watching people read, to see what works for other people. What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reading is what I do outside of the things I must do. I always carry a book with me. Or a magazine. I can remember when I was about 11 or 12, sitting on the toilet and reading the back of a Comet can simply because I wanted to be reading something. ANYTHING! That's how it is for some of us. My father read constantly. My sisters do. My son does. I remarried when I was 54 and the man I married (he was 49 at the time) didn't read books. Now he does. Not as voraciously I do, perhaps, because it seems to put him to sleep, but he's now reading books which is something he's never done before in his life. I love sharing books, buying books, looking at books, holding books. Reading for me is something I do every morning when I'm drying my hair (okay, so it's not styled quite right, but that's what they make hot curlers for). I read every evening before I fall asleep. And I read in between whenever I get the chance. I used to love reading as I sat by my pool when I lived in Florida. Now that I don't live there and don't have a pool, I miss that tremendously and, actually, don't read as much as I did back then. I keep a log of all my books. Just the titles, authors, and the date I finish reading it. Books! They always make me smile and make me feel better if I'm feeling down. :o)