Thursday, August 23, 2012

For The Love Of Reading

I feel like I just came out the other side of a sandstorm of school fundraisers, and birthday parties, and writing assignments, and my own crippling sinus infection, which probably qualified for medical research but not blog material.  Though, to be honest, for the last four days, a lot of my free time has gone into Greg Heffley and his repeated diaries about life as a Wimpy Kid.

My son asked if he could start reading these books last week.  Apparently they're all the rage amongst the literate third grade crowd.  I had my suspicions that anything that popular with little boys probably contained messages that are contradictory to some of the actual good parenting I've attempted, so I told him we'd read them together.

I was right.  The main character/narrator promotes laziness and selfishness and general dishonesty.  But, the fans are right too - he's hilarious.  I don't exactly have to force myself to read them.  I still can't keep up with my son though, who is currently holding two very nice librarians hostage until they deliver into his hands the fifth book in the series.  They promised him they'd call as soon as they got a copy returned or transferred into our library branch, but he wouldn't budge from in front of their desk, so I just left him there to wait it out.

We've discussed a couple of scenes in each of the books that I decided to use as examples of what not to do, but I pretty much gave a broad warning of, "If you start acting like Greg, you'll stop reading about him."  And, fortunately, the mom in the books, Susan, does some decent parenting of her own and tries to instill some values into her sons and the readers.

And I'm willing to talk through the bad to benefit from the good.  Because my son has never been this excited about reading.  He's never been this excited about anything other than sports and dessert.  If a sarcastic, scheming, sullen middle-schooler is what it takes to spark his interest in books, so be it.  Now I just need to find a series to bridge the gap between this elaborate cartoon and C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series.

Since Brainy is tracked out right now, we practiced some of the laziness this wimpy kid preaches and watched the first two movies on Tuesday.  Which, as always, aren't as good as the books.  But my son's reward for getting through four full weeks of nightly football practice (and tackling a lot of teammates to the ground) is that I'm taking him and a friend to see the third movie at the theater tomorrow.  If I can get him to abandon his post at the library that is.


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