Monday, March 27, 2017

Even Farmers Read

Today I sat on the couch reading a professional book and as I glanced over my book at my husband sitting in his big overstuffed chair.  He was intently reading his thick manual for his new planter that he just purchased for the farm.  On the footstool sat his pesticide/herbicide applicator manual he was also reading as he preps for the test that he will be taking in order to purchase and apply restricted sprays which are necessary to control the bugs and weeds that try to eat our profit every year.  I said, "Hey, I should take a picture of this so that when someone gets the idea that farmers just drive tractors and don't need to read I can prove otherwise."

Then I began to reflect to a time long ago to when my son was growing up and he hated to read.  He balked at doing his required reading at home. In first grade our reading specialist, God bless her soul, would drag him down to her office every morning before school started to work with him one on one.  She used what I called "tough love" telling him that his fits weren't going to work so you might as well get up and get it over with.  Sharon made some gains with Trent but it was agonizing.
As he got grew older his love for reading did not grow.  His teachers tried every angle: coercion, enthusiasm,  you name it.  None of it worked.  I bought every book that even remotely connected to farming, construction, equipment, and trucks.  He liked them but it wasn't enough to light the passion and it certainly didn't address the problem of chapter book requirements.  I tried taking him to the book store to engage his interest in a chapter book series but to no avail.
In middle school he was assigned chapter books.  He thought he was clever when he would read the beginning chapter, a middle chapter and the end chapter to do the required writing assignment.  Then he discovered a miracle to his dilemma, Cliff Notes. He read those and was able to get by in class.
Meanwhile he read.  He read video game cheat code books, mechanic magazines, farming magazines, ATV manuals, hunter safety test manual, equipment diagrams, etc.  Everything that didn't count but that counted for a lot as far as he was concerned.
My husband figuring out what the new planter can do!  With the new technology it takes a little programing to get it set up for planting



  1. I continue to struggle with the idea that students must meet "chapter book" requirements. I struggle with it a lot. I feel like reading is reading. What do you want to learn about? You want to read all non-fiction, go for it! Try something different now and then, maybe join a book club, or jump into a series. Who am I to tell you you can't read that graphic novel. You love it? Great! It's real reading if words are printed on the page isn't it? Yet, I continue to struggle and wrangle with it.

  2. AMEN!!! I have to agree with Betsy. I hate the requirements we put on kids for reading. Why does it matter what they read if they are reading? I know they need to learn to read at first, but once it switches to reading to learn, let the child choose what they are interested in! My son doesn't love to read either but he will meet his requirements. However, if you put a sports article or magazine in front of him, or a video game magazine or cheat code website and he will be happy as can be. And reading.Isn't that the point? Great connections made today Kris!

  3. Choice reading is so important. We all read for so many reasons, and it's important to honor that too.