summer reading evaluation

It has been a struggle to get Ryan(10) to read.   It is unlikely in his 10 years he has read ONE WORD that wasn’t required, requested or assigned.

ryan in summerI have had to come to the conclusion that he isn’t a reader.   It is a part of him that I don’t fully understand, but he comes by it genetically.

Blog-Stedman isn’t a reader.   As a teenager he read the first Lord of the Rings and it must have worn him out because the second book never got finished and I can’t recall the last time I saw him with a book or magazine.

It isn’t that they CAN’T read.   Ryan tests at grade level or above.   Blog-Stedman made it through medical school just fine.

Their hearts are just not in the written word.

The last few summers have been a challenge with Ryan.   His school assigns a few books to read over the summer.   Up until now they have been a little heavy for both of our tastes.   I might even admit to abandoning one I was reading aloud to the boys mid-book last summer because I got bored.   I always feel compelled to read several of the books aloud with him because I can never be sure that Ryan is ACTUALLY reading.   He has the tenacity to sit for 30 minutes holding a book and turning pages rhythmically instead of reading even though that probably takes more energy.

Thankfully, they re-evaluated the summer reading list and the new books are books that they can read themselves. Each morning the boys are responsible for reading 1-2 chapters in their book along with a page in a workbook before any summer fun can be had.   They are both pretty sure that I am the world’s meanest mommy, but I just don’t want to get to August and have to have 2 weeks of reading 8 hours a day to catch up.

Reid, for third grade, has several books by Beverly Cleary, Dangerous Journey and the Magic Treehouse Books on his list.   No problem.   He appears to be in the pro-reading camp and has already started Harry Potter which is not on any official summer reading list.

Ryan’s list for fifth grade was brief with just two books:   Snow Treasure and Old Yeller.

Old Yeller?

I couldn’t even bear to have the boys watch the movie!   It is so sad.

Ryan started it first and is over half way through the book.   I was lamenting to blog-Stedman how sad and disappointed he will be when he gets to the end when he made a really good point…

at least we will know if he read it.


  1. OLD YELLER? What kind of sadist teacher assigns “Old Yeller” to fifth graders? Just throw in “Where the Red Fern Grows” for good measure and make sure the child is completely scarred for life…

  2. ok that so sounds like stedman.. I can totally see this conversation… harry potter ??really?? Luke says its too scary… let me know what reid thinks..

  3. Buffi, that is SO FUNNY because that was my EXACT reaction. I read “Where the Red Fern grows” my freshman year of high school and can still vividly remember the moment the book went sour and the horror! OMG. Seriously, why are the classics so dark?

  4. This sounds like my house! I’m a school librarian, and it kills me that my 10 yr old son ( who reads on a 12th grade level!) doesn’t like to read anything that is too long or doesn’t have pictures. Keeping my fingers crossed now though…he picked up The Alchemyst by Michael Scott and is now requesting the others in the series. I guess there is hope after all!

  5. If you think Old Yeller is bad, wait til middle school reading lists. Everybody dies, commits suicide, or grows up an orphan. And of course they do it with lovely symbolism, metaphors, foreshadowing, and grand character development. HA.

    Angie, for the 10-yr-old, try some Michael Crichton books. They are very exciting! (Prey is about tiny killer nanno robots. And of course there are the dinosaur ones…) Those were a hit here. Harry Potter series is good (gets darker with each book) and we have read first one aloud to both boys at age 4. Oldest really liked the classics “Fahrenheit 451” and “Harrison Bergeron”.

    I still wish everything was as happy and silly as “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket.”

  6. I’m enjoying reading the first book of the 39 Clues series with my 8 year old daughter. Happily all of my kids so far share my love of reading to at least some degree. My girls are desperate to start HP but I’m making them wait until they are 11 to start (same age as Harry in the first book).

  7. It’s something about boys… I find that its a lot easier to get girls to read than boys.

  8. Good point! My son loves to read. He’s 8. He’s reading the Warriors and Seekers series (about cats and bears, respectively). He just started the Land of Elyon series by Patrick Carman. He’s also read Hiaasen’s Hoot. Others: the series by Pseudonymous Bosch (he loved this), The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander; I read these when I was his age) all the Tolkien series and Lemony Snickett.

  9. Blog-Stedman has an excellent point! And who knows, maybe this is the book that captures his interest. Good luck!

  10. Thanks for the visit Holly… your Blog is great fun and the boys are adorable. Stacie

  11. I love your blog, thank you for sharing your fantastic ideas. Greetings from my creative activities blog.

  12. I’m a librarian and I ended up with a son who absolutely refused to learn how to read. Some how he must have picked it up along the way because he made it through school. I was sooooo very frustrated him. But I read to him all the way through high school, first thing in the morning while he was eating breakfast…he was grumpy and it helped move him along. I also made sure that he had access to magazines that were about anything that interested him, non-fiction for boys is a good thing, at one point I think we owned everymagazine about bicycles and music that were printed. 🙂 Then one wonderous day when he was 23 years old he called me out of the blue and said “I think I’m going to read a book”!!! I couldn’t believe it but I gave him a coupld of ideas and he called me two days later and said that he had read a book and he loved it!!! what!!!?? I don’t know what made the change for him but now he makes a point to always have a book that he is reading. I always tell kids who come to the library that if they don’t like to read, it’s because they haven’t gotten the right book yet. There’s always hope 🙂

  13. True. He may never want to read again, but…Old Yeller seems a little heavy for summer reading. Yeesh.

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