From the Teachable Moment October 1998:
"Being such an avid reader, I've been so pleased that our first three children picked up the hobby also. I've always felt it definitely made homeschooling much easier if your child liked to read.. Our fourth and youngest child seemed to be on that track when he was younger, but got off the track during the past year.
As I pondered and thought on the situation, I had many thoughts run through my head. I've always believed in the wisdom of Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore as shared in books such as "Better Late Than Early". I had never pushed our other children; they just wanted to read and pursued it until they could. But troubling thoughts also ran through my mind. Fact: I had never spent as much time reading with Matthew as I had with the older three. I seem to be in the busiest season of my life right now, so if Matthew was content with a quick book or none at all that day, it didn't terribly disturb me. With the older children, we would come straight home from the library and read six to ten books in one reading sessions.
Fact: Matthew was watching more television than we had allowed the others to watch at his age. I'd get involved with one of the older kids or get caught on a telephone conversation that extended longer than I expected and Matthew would slip into the family room and turn on another show. I just didn't have time to paly TV cop as I had with the others.
If it wasn't TV, it was a computer game. Even though we had several educational games that might have encouraged some reading, Matthew was gravitating to games his big brother downloaded off the internet.
I wondered, was there a desire to read deep down inside of Matthew being suppressed by TV and the computer? Was I making sure his environment was conducive to reading? Should I be concerned about this?
After a family discussion, we decided to try a a drastic experiment (it wasn't a unanimous vote). The TV went on a vacation to the grandparents house and the keyboard to the computer was removed and only connected with mom had time and agreed to it.
We saw results almost immediately. Within days, Matthew was loading up his backpack at the library and begging to be read six to ten books in a row. He spent much time studying the pictures page by page in a book. And his reading skills began blossoming!
I don't think this is necessarily the answer for every child and I do believe there exist personalities that don't find reading one of the most wonderful experiences in life. However, I do think as parents, we have to ponder and be willing to examine our children's learning environment to see if we can enhance any areas before we accept that something's just personality driven.
P.S.: TV and computer have made their way back in and are being moderately used, much to the relief of certain other family members!
2012 Followup: Everyone is grown and everyone likes to read for pleasure. My husband, who was not a reader, began to follow in his father's footsteps and our examples and also started reading for pleasure. We swap books around the family and have great book discussions. That was the first time the TV went on vacation but it went on vacation another time or two over the years. Some people have told me they thought that was too drastic at the time. I think parents are being even more challenged in today's world and particularly so with the variety of games out there and the young men who are struggling to balance their time with video games. In Korea, they now have rehab centers for videogame addicts and I won't be surprised to see some methods for dealing with this in our country soon.