Because Dragons

My son is reading, because of dragons.

I’m very happy that my eldest son is into reading fiction now. It was very difficult to get him to get away from computer and TV screens. I’ll admit that getting him to read segued from the kiddlywinks watching a movie then finding out that the movies were books first.

That, and the long periods of time when they couldn’t play video games because we couldn’t afford to fix computers/replace expensive parts. For years we didn’t have TV (it wasn’t plugged into the antenna) and they’d run out of DVDs to watch. “I’m bored,” holds no water when the parental response in the household is to brush a finger down the spines of several books, select one and hand it to the kidlet, “you can’t be bored, you haven’t read all the books in the house yet!”

So the trick to get him to read was to give him books that he liked. In this case he was very much into dragons, so I got him dragon-centric fantasy books and fantasy adventure books that I felt were straightforward engrossing stories that any of the children could read. Wings of Fire was obtained, along with some volumes of Brotherband (we’ll really have to try get him a boxed set at some point, because we fell behind, in favor of Wings) and then for his combined Christmas and birthday money, we went digging through Book Depository for books he wanted.


To my delight there’d be times where he would opt to read instead of watching TV or playing video games. In the morning after breakfast and before going to school he’d be curled up on the couch, reading. At first he rehashed all the ones he’d already read, and then I pointed out that he had unread books on his shelves waiting from his last book buy binge. It took some doing, but we got him Dave Freer’s Dragon’s Ring and Dog and Dragon, which he enjoyed.

Recently, I handed him Matthew Reilly’s Troll Mountain. He liked it a lot as he finished it the same day, and remarked about how the cure for the disease turned out to be such a simple thing. I told him that the disease in the book was actually a disease that exists in the real world and it used to kill people very regularly. Right now, he’s working on The Great Zoo of China. He got through the first three chapters bam like that. Concerned that he was just flying through the book and skimming, I actually asked him what was going on and he was able to tell me, proving that no, he was indeed reading the book.

When Vincent’s done with that, I’ll give him Contest, and then Temple. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on Hovercar Racer because that was one we didn’t actually get (had no money at the time.)  I have to find my copies of the Jack West Jr. books; or if I’d left them in the Philippines (in which case I’ll have to buy new copies.)  Rather excited about the fact that there’s a new book in the Jack West Jr. books coming out too.  The Jack West Jr. series of books I think will be particularly good for him to read as it’s got a lot of Indiana Jones feel of action and very interesting and varied characters on the team.  I’ll probably put Scarecrow‘s first book in front of him when he’s done with the Jack West Jr. books.

I’ll probably start him on the Belgariad after those; and then introduce him to Monster Hunter International at 11. ^_^

Vincent is thorougly enjoying reading now; taking the book he is currently reading at the time with him to school and reading before class and occasionally, during recess.

I’ve still got my old Tell Me Why books, so sometimes I have him look at that, to answer the questions he sometimes has. “Look it up,” is a response he will get. To train his researching skills we made a point of getting  books that he can use for reference and encyclopedias he can use to look up things. The stuff I’m having him look up will be the kind of information that doesn’t ‘go out of date’ – things like ‘Who were the Gauls?” or “Who was Julius Caesar?” or “Tell me some basic facts about the planet Mercury?”

So he’s slowly gaining an appreciation of books and hopefully the enjoyment of knowledge that one gets from reading.


Edited at 16h: Vincent came home and told me he just finished The Great Zoo of China. And yes he was able to tell me what happened at the end. So he’s got Contest now.


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