Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 15th 2013 Contents A31
Monday, July 15, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MT. PLEASANT ROAD, CAROLINA VILLAGE
The Public is hereby notified that
in the vicinity of L.P # 97 will be closed to vehicular
traffic for the period
This closure has become necessary due to the construction of a box
culvert at Carolina Bridge, Couva.
The Corporation apologizes for any inconvenience caused.
Ihave always been struck by
both the enthusiasm and the
embarrassment of parents who
contact me about the issue of
their children not reading. They
want their children to read more.
They re embarrassed that their
children don t find any value in
reading. They re baffled about
what steps to take to get their
children to read, and yet few
people really seem to be listening
to what I am saying.
Here are some of the most
common questions I get.
1. Why can t I get my child
to read more? I buy so many
books for him (or her). He (or
she) doesn t read them.
Take my advice... If you want
your non-reading child to read,
don t, under any circumstances
take home a book. Don t touch
it. Don t think it. Don t do it---
especially if that child is a
Children who don t read, don t
like parents to buy them books.
They see that as an imposition.
They feel like they re being force-
fed. You have to move stealthily---
like a cat on the prowl---or better
yet, like a detective. Take note of
your children s interests and find
ways to make reading seem like
And don t worry if they don t
want to read a book. Hoping that
they ll read a book is like hoping
they can swim by throwing them
into the deep end without ever
having a swimming lesson.
Have a son who is about to get
his driver s license? You might be
able to discreetly find a way to
link him up with a car or motor-
cycle magazine. Again, it has to
be his choice. Going on vacation?
Find a way to get your children
to surf the net and do some
research about places to visit and
things to do when you get there.
Try this tactic: Want a new
phone? Prove to me which is the
best phone. Give me your
research from the Internet.
At the dinner table---you do eat
at the dinner table, right?---talk
about controversial stories in the
local and international news and
drop some lines about the stories
you read on the Internet.
In other words, link reading to
life. The challenge is to hook
them on reading and let them
graduate to books.
2. My children are always
complaining that they don t
have time to read. They don t
even want to read their books
for literature class. What
should I do?
I don t buy that excuse. As a
matter of fact, I think teenagers
have more time than ever to
read. Every day most teens spend
hours on their computers or
phones. They have no incentive
to make the time to read so you
create an appropriate environ-
At a certain hour every night,
the TV gets switched off. (Why
is the TV even on during the
week?) Cell phones get checked
in to mom or dad. Computers
are switched off: No surfing, no
texting, no ringing phones. Pull
the cord to the landline---if any-
one besides me still has a land
Then you sit with a book in
your own hand and patiently
wait. Don t beg. Don t nag. Don t
blow a fuse. Don t have a panic
attack. Just read.
Studies show that children are
more likely to read if they see
parents reading. You know about
the witching hour? Well, think of
this as the meditation hour. The
worst that can happen is that
everyone has some good, old-
fashioned down time to relax,
which is a dying art in itself.
You ll be surprised what can
come out of quiet time, but
make sure you make this a posi-
tive venture not a feeling of pun-
ishment. When they bite, kick
scratch and fight you just stay in
guru mode. Stand your ground.
Better yet, sit in a quiet corner
Every weekend for the past
three years, my students at YTC
have excitedly discussed the
books they re reading, and they
always tell me the same thing: "I
never believed I could read a
They read because they have
no Internet or cell phones.
3. What makes you think
devices like a kindle will
entice a teenager to read?
It s more than teens liking
gadgets. Kindles are just less
intimidating because reluctant
readers can t see the size of the
book. A kindle features the per-
centage of the book you ve read---
not the page numbers. Also, with
a kindle or a free kindle down-
load on a PC, which allows read-
ers to check out e-books, there s
no waiting for a book or maga-
zine to arrive. That means a lot
4. Is it really that important
for my children to read?
Only if they re going to apply
for jobs, vote, attend university
and be productive citizens in this
world who can think their way
through all of the situations that
appeal to emotions rather than
The good news is that reluctant
readers can be persuaded to read.
There really is hope. The bad
news is it s not magic. It takes
some patience and creativity on
your part. The key to success is
teenagers---feel that it is a choice.
Imitate reading through life
At the dinner table---you do
eat at the dinner table,
controversial stories in the
local and international news
and drop some lines about
the stories you read on the
In other words, link reading
to life. The challenge is to
hook them on reading and
let them graduate to books
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