Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Know I Shouldn't Complain About This

I know I've said it before, I'm a fanatic about reading. It's a very special skill to me, and I want nothing more to instill a love of reading in Michael. The primary way that I've been doing this is by reading to Michael. It is part of his bed time ritual, and when his attention has increased, I've started bedtime earlier so we can fit more reading in. Basically, my policy is to read to him any time he wants me to read to him. But...

You knew there would eventually have to be a but.

The first problem is the repetitive nature of Michael's interests. He likes to hear the same book over and over and over again. I, on the other hand, have a very low tolerance for repetition. As the books get longer and longer, my tolerance goes down and down. I could probably read Good Night Moon every night for the rest of my life. I can handle Chicka Chicka Boom Boom every night for a few months straight, I know because I've done it. But, Scooby Doo and the Rotten Robot? Not so much.

Which brings me to the second problem. Content. Boring books are bad enough, but now we are getting into Scooby Doo and Super Heroes and these books are not all that great. Not only is the subject matter cheesy, the writing isn't that good either. I know that it's still beneficial to read to him, even if it's silly stuff, but Having to read Scooby Doo and the Rotten Robot every night for the past several weeks is becoming painful.

And the biggest problem are the questions. I encourage Michael to ask questions when we are reading. I like when he really pays attention to the story and interjects comments here and there. But, my already inquisitive child has exploded with questions lately. Here are some of the questions and comments Michael has asked about Scooby Doo and the Rotten Robot. Some nights I get EVERY.ONE.OF.THEM.
  • What are those, in reference to the back stage passes the Mystery Inc gang is wearing.
  • Sy Smiley Doesn't have one, so he can't go back stage.
  • What does "Make a Bundle" mean?
  • No, his name is Tinkerwell, not Tinkerbell. (Even when I don't make the mistake.)
  • What is a handkerchief?
  • Do they have a washing machine back stage to wash the handkerchief?
  • What does "scram" mean?
  • What does "sabotage" mean?
  • I know other words that mean "sabotage" followed by an explanation I've told him previously.
  • Why does Velma trip when they are running away from the robot?
  • Why is Velma off her feet when she sprays the robot with the fire hose? (I thought using a fire hose at the fair would answer this. Nope. he's still asking.)
  • How does the bad guy control the robot from inside?
This book has 24 pages, and it generates that many questions every night. Oh, and did I mention that he gets three books a night? We are also reading Riddle Me This fairly often as well as Scooby Doo and the Tiki Curse. Let's just say that bedtime has gotten very long.

So, what am I going to do about this? I'm going to move bedtime up 15 minutes so we can keep going over the meaning of "sabotage" and "scram" while exploring the physics used by cartoon illustrators. It may not be the most compelling conversation I'll ever have, but it keeps Michael thinking and lets me cuddle with him for a little while each night.

For now though, the book on Mummies I just bought is staying out of the bedtime rotation. He made me read the part about embalmers pulling King Tuts brains out through his nose five times in a row. I don't think either of us will benefit from that right before bed.


Stacey said...

I too am fanatical about reading and warms my heart to see my 18 month old "reading" to herself or running up to me with a book she wants me to read to her. And while she is still very young recently I started thinking about your very situation. I know your son is only 4 but given his sophistication (embalming, for example) have you thought about reading him books from your older childhood? Limit it to a number of chapters, of course. But how about The Last Unicorn? Or The Phantom Tollbooth? Or even The Hardy boy series? That way you can revisit your childhood and hopefully Michael will enjoy it too.

Beth said...

We just started the Magic Treehouse series and William really likes them. (And the first one is about dinosaurs. Score!) Also, have you tried having Michael "read" the book to you and YOU ask the questions? I've started doing this with William and it's pretty awesome.

Lindsay said...

I have divided J's bookshelf into "long books" and "short books." Based on how much he stalls, I tell him how many books he can pick each night. It's usually 1 long book or two short books.

Stacey said...

Must be tough. Good thing I don't have to deal with this exact same situation. Yep, good thing.

DesiDVM said...

We do the same thing as Lindsay - there are long stories and short stories. He can have one long story or 2-3 short stories. If it's a really long story (24 pages would qualify!) then I "speed read" it which makes J laugh. Thankfully now he can read pretty well by himself so when he gets out of hand I just leave the room and he finishes the book alone.