Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So, I was just wondering…

I got one of those emails all parents dread. My son’s 11th grade English teacher was writing to say that he wasn’t doing well with the book they were reading. He hadn’t passed all of the quizzes and the final exam was coming up. All of my boys are good students but I wasn’t surprised to receive this, nor was it the first one. They have always struggled with reading comprehension for assigned reading. If they don’t like it they don’t retain it. Ugh.

Fortunately I don’t mind reading the book and discussing it with them I just wish the youngest light-of-my-life had told me sooner, much sooner. He thought he did OK on the exam, well the part about the last 5 chapter anyway. We are anxiously awaiting our his grade. He just wants to know how much I’m going to chew him out and I want to know how I he did and how I’m going to help him prepare for the next one. Next up is The Great Gatsby. I’ve never read it but something tells me I’m about to!

So, I was just wondering, have you ever had to do the same thing with your kids? I know most children need help with their homework in some capacity but have you done their reading with them? What books did you get to read and were there any favorites or least favorites? Some of the stuff I had to read in high school I could barely get through the first time so I’m really hoping not to get a repeat of Shakespeare or Silas Marner. My darling boy and I might not survive it! And speaking of our high school days, were there any special (or not so special) memories of your parents helping you with your reading? if you’re not too traumatized I’d love to hear all about it!


  1. Debbie, I am sure your not alone in this. I am not there yet as my son is only 6. I do remember in high school struggling through books that I had to read and hate. I think out of all the ones I read only Wuthering Heights and To kill a mocking bird were the ones i really enjoyed.

    Good luck and I hope your son does okay on his tests.

  2. Trust me, "Mom", you and your darling boy WILL survive. No one says it will be easy but you will persevere.

  3. My parents have to do that with my brother. He has a very low reading level, dyslexia and asperger's, so he has lots of trouble in school. He loves to read though and will sit and listen to an audiobook (sometimes while he's playing his XBOX) or my parents will read to him. He's a very auditory learner, so hearing the book helps him remember. You might try audiobooks so you don't have to read every book. (although I loved The Great Gatsby!) and if you have to do Shakespeare, check out the manga Shakespeare-makes it a little bit easier to understand. Or the Simply Shakespeare series which has modern translations next to the original text.

  4. I never had to do this with my son, but he had exceptional English teachers in high school. Maybe that's why he's an English major now.

  5. No kids yet, but one of our assignments in my advanced English class was to read Frankenstein with our parents and to journal our discussion. My father soldiered manfully through it, and we both absolutely hated it. Our journal was filled with wisecracks (and some whining). That's one of my fondest memories from high school now - and I remember a whole lot about Frankenstein! We kept silly charts for overt imagery - penny in jars labelled 'weather-y foreshadowing' and such.

    Dad also helped me through Beowulf - our assignment was to put together a movie pitch (I had a wonderfully creative English teacher). So I cut out pictures of movie stars, we wrote a screenplay and made it a musical by re-writing popular (and not so popular) songs so the lyrics fit.

    Finally, my brother had a lot of trouble reading growing up (dyslexia), so when he had to get through Hamlet, we read through the thing giving characters different accents and coming up with silly poses and hand signals to let each other know who we were being. Claudius was always prefaced with deep booming shouts of KING! and waggling fingers like a crown on our heads.

    So yeah, my dad helped a lot with irritating reading. Just see if you can't find some 'inside' jokes to help make it stick.


Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I hope you keep coming back!