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4 Tips to Beat the ‘This-Book-is-Boring’ Blues

Young boy that has become a book worm reading

“This book is so BORING”
“This book is so OLD”
“This book is TERRIBLE”

Have you heard one (or all) of these sentences from your child in regards to required school readings?

Most students won’t reach the end of high school without being required to read classic literature of some form. Whether it’s Shakespeare or Wuthering Heights, the lessons about symbolism, metaphor, and imagery can make it difficult for students to appreciate the reading process.

Without petitioning the school board for curriculum changes, how can you encourage your child to engage with ‘boring’ books and not develop a distaste for reading completely?

Here are some tips:

  1. Ask – If children say they don’t like a book that has been assigned, they should be able to articulate why. Ask what they would rather be reading, and why. If they say the main character is ‘stupid’, ask them to which part of the book made them think that. You will quickly discover whether your child is forming engaged opinions or simply repeating opinions without backup.
  2. Read – Read the book yourself! Discuss with your child which parts you liked (and which parts bored you as well!) If your child is able to tell you specifics (even if he or she is bashing the book while doing it), at least you know s/he is reading and remembering the story.
  3. Find – Often old material is recycled. The same themes can be found in modern movies, books or TV shows that appear in the classics. Your child may be too distracted by the language and archaic references to realize (for example) that the ‘love triangle’ plot in Wuthering Heights between Catherine, Linton, and Heathcliff is also found in the Hunger Games between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale (and many others!)
  4. Pay Attention – Students sometimes disguise misunderstanding as dislike. If your child isn’t comprehending what s/he is reading, there is no way s/he is going to enjoy it. The book may not be too boring or old at all; your child may not be at the reading level required to understand and enjoy it.

What’s your opinion on/experience with students reading ‘classic’ literature in school? Comment below!

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