Reading As A Magical Power

Something I recently started doing that might be of interest to parents:

I’m reading “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne to my almost 7-year-old.

Written in the 1800s, the writing style is challenging.

So I read a bit, then I “translate” it into a more natural language for him. I’ve explained to him that if he reads the books he’s able to read and I read this book to him (instead of him trying to read it himself, which he was trying to do, but I have zero confidence he’s understanding), the combination will give him “magic.” I try to create some mystique around reading because I want him to think reading gives him special powers. Because that’s a fun thing to think, of course (and we probably should think about more things in such ways because it helps us notice the joy in being alive and stuff).

One of the chapters ended in a particularly suspenseful way. And I tried to explain the concept of suspense to him (to his and his teacher’s credit, he mentioned that when they read in school, they pause to try to predict what will happen next in the story).

So with the idea of suspense established, I just asked him to come up with suspenseful sentences. I’ve never asked him to do that, and he didn’t reply with anything substantive, but that’s okay, whatever… (I did give him an example: “The boy thought he locked the door, but then he saw the knob turn,” and my son goes, “that would freak me out,” and since this was just before bed, I felt a bit guilty..oops)

Just sharing for other parents’ benefit, I think we all want to find ways to show the joy of reading and wanted to start showing him “techniques,” a word I asked Alexa to define for him. So he can identify the author’s “weapons” and so maybe one day he can use them when he writes.

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