RAR #165: When reading starts to feel like school

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By Sarah Mackenzie. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

It happens to all of us at one point or another: reading shifts in our kids’ lives from being principally about joy and delight into something that needs to be done for school.

A lot of us notice a significant drop in how much our kids are reading for pleasure once the school year is well underway.

This is a problem.

According to the National Literacy Trust, those who enjoy reading are better, more confident readers who spend less time online, and are more motivated by interest and achievement. (source)

In fact, we know that no single literacy activity has a more positive effect on comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, writing ability, or overall academic achievement than free voluntary reading. (source)

Not assigned reading.

Not reading for school.

Free voluntary reading.

I want to sit on this for a moment because the emphasis here is on reading for pleasure. Simply being ABLE to read, or reading because you are told to does not confer the same benefits as reading for pleasure.

That’s what we’re tackling today on the podcast.

We also get to hear from one of my favorite authors about his newest book release!

In this episode, I’m breaking down:

  • How less can actually be more when it comes to your child’s reading life
  • Why we want our kids to be friendly and affectionate with the books they’re reading
  • A list of books that are just plain fun-– my recommended reads if reading has hit a slump in your house (or if you’re just ready for a good time!)

Click the play button below to start listening:

I talk about…

1:39 Enjoying books makes better readers
3:13 What is our goal?
5:58 Feeling ‘friendly, even affectionate’ toward books
8:15 Less is more
10:26 Audiobooks instead
14:08 Invite delight
16:09 ‘The Book Whisperer’
18:56 ‘less titles, less pressure, less expectations’
21:00 ‘Willa the Wisp’ (and a new series!)
25:25 ‘The Fabled Stables’
26:19 A series for many ages
31:48 A prequel to ‘Peter Nimble’
34:07 Let the Kids Speak

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Quotes to remember:

“If our kids are doing most of their reading for schoolwork, then we want to take a moment and consider our goals .

Sarah Mackenzie

” … not just attentive to what he or she studies, but positively disposed toward it, friendly, even affectionate.”

Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

“The reason she had pulled me out of school for a year, so that I could be, “homeschooled” was because she was panicking about my reading, and she didn’t know how to make me a reader, but she knew that it had to happen.

Jonathan Auxier


Links from this episode:


These books are just plain fun!

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Other books mentioned in this episode:

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You’ll also enjoy:

More free resources and booklists

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