Ryan Trares: Reading Between the Lines

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How do you get a 7-year-old to do something he absolutely doesn’t want to?

I don’t mean eating vegetables or picking up toys or getting into the bathtub. We have them under control, up to a point.

But Anthony doesn’t seem interested in picking up a book to read. And it was driving me crazy.

Reading might be my favorite activity in the whole world. Books have been a constant companion since I was a kid when I devoured the Hardy Boys series, adventure books like Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet” and whatever else I got my hands on.

After school, I lay on our swing, enjoying the breeze and any new novels I came across. Whether it was cold winter weekends or hot summer mornings, I would have to be away from the story I was immersed in.

My time is a little more, shall I say, spoken for these days. But give me a free afternoon and maybe a sunny seat on the back patio, and I’m off.

I’ve read historical novels about the age of pirates and fossil hunters from the 1880s. During the winter months, they’re all Scandinavian murder mysteries, with their dark atmospheres set in cold, distant places. . Non-fiction choices include everything from the history of the Great Lakes to the volcanic explosion of Krakatoa to travelogues over the decades

One of my all-time favorite books is an examination of geological history when the earth completely froze over, written almost like a detective story, aptly called “Snowball Earth.”

The thing is, my tastes are everywhere.

When Anthony was born, I was delighted to pass on my passion to him. We read him picture book after picture book when he was a toddler, and there were a few he kept asking for over and over again. But he was born out of this – he prefers building with his Legos, playing football in the garden or, God forbid, going to work on his Minecraft world on his iPad.

Getting him to sit with me while I read to him, or getting him to say the words himself, became more difficult.

I was concerned. But I realized – just because Anthony isn’t opening a book when he comes home from school, he’s constantly reading.

He reads the names of songs and bands on the radio in the car. It sounds traffic signs and advertisements on billboards. When we watch the news in the morning, he rattles off the slogans and captions for each segment.

And above all, when he is on his iPad, he reads. He participates in the programs his school gave us to read books on everything from Japan to who would win a fight between a polar bear and a grizzly bear.

I am more at ease after having made this realization. His teachers say he’s fine, and after paying close attention, I believe him.

So maybe Anthony isn’t one to lounge around, sitting quietly in the corner while his imagination runs wild. That may come later; it may not come at all.

But I have no doubt that his curiosity and thirst for learning are satisfied. He just approaches it in a different way. And that’s perfectly fine.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist at the Daily Journal. Send feedback to [email protected]

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist at the Daily Journal. Send feedback to [email protected]


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