"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Monday, May 12, 2014

Matthew Monday: Reading

Matthew is only four and a half and he has not learned to read yet.  But he does enjoy being read to, if he’s not preoccupied with his toys.  He enjoys the typical children’s stories, and the pictures really make him want to peruse the pages.  What concerns me lately is that he’s become semi-obsessed with superhero stories.  They are technically not comic books, but in essence they are comic books.  They’re stories of the standard comic book superheroes in a book format for early readers. 

What concerns me is that he excludes any other type of story at the expense of only superheroes.  He doesn’t even go for Lightening McQueen stories any more.  If I insist and read him a traditional children’s story, he accepts it and then does get into the story, even if he’s heard it before.  But his impulse is superheroes.   

I have a friend who claims he learned to read as a child strictly on comic books.  I tend to believe him actually, and he didn’t turn out too bad in life, though I bet other than the newspaper and for his work he doesn't read much as an adult.  So I’m probably making too much of it.  I don't expect Matthew to be reading Shakespeare and the high literature I read, at least not yet.  :-P  It’s probably another one of these phases, though this one seems to be lasting longer than the others. 

I came across this Eyes On Heaven blog by an Ellen Mady who seems to be a homeschooler and has a post titled, “11 Ways to Make Reading Fun for Your Kids.”  The advice is for kids a bit older who can read on their own, but it strikes me as being very good ideas.  Go over and read all eleven, but the ones that strikes me as must do are (1) Designate a special location for reading, (4) Set reading challenges and rewards, (5) Organize activities that relate to the story or theme from the book you’re reading together, and (7) Keep a yearly reading chart. 

Anyone consider Ellen’s other ideas particularly noteworthy?  Do you have any other ideas?  Should I be worried about Matthew and his superhero indulgence? 


  1. Here's the short answer: Matthew will either love to read, or he won't. He may decide when he can actually read words that he loves it, as did most of my kids. Right now my 10 y.o. hates to read anything that isn't Star Wars, but we make him read other things and its a struggle - hopefully he'll outgrow the childishness and decide that reading is great...if not, his life is going to be harder than it might have to be. If you can't read, you really can't write.

    Since Matthew is attentive when you read "good stuff" to him, I wouldn't let it worry me at this point. You might try and teach him some sight words while he's looking at the pages of the books he likes -you know, learning without knowing he's learning:)

  2. Replies
    1. And I meant to add...those evaluation printables are extremely important and I would definitely use the concepts right now-without him knowing what you're doing. No pressure, right? But they will help you determine whether or not he is comprehending what you are reading to him. The other ideas are good,too, if you feel like those will be helpful. In our house, there are so many distractions that we've all gotten pretty good at tuning everything else out when we read.

  3. I tend to agree with Jan. For now you are perhaps worrying too much and too early. At least by reading Batman and Superman he is learning about the struggle of good against evil. An important lesson in today's world.

    How he'll turn out as he grows depends not just on his reading habits, but more important, on the example he gets from his parents. Loving, caring parents who are good role models are better than anything Shakespeare can teach. So you have no problems there.

    Maybe as he grows, Matthew will be more interested in "technical" stuff like computers, medicine, science rather than the beauty of words from the hands of the great literature writers. Not everyone is interested in reading in the "literature" sense.

    One more thing. Dedicate your son to God. Ask Our Lord to look after him and to let him grow up in His way, (God's way), not yours.

    God bless you and your family. (Sorry to go on a bit).

  4. My advice is not nearly as thorough as Jan's, but I think, don't worry. It is good that Matthew wants to read and I think, normal that he has the interests of a young boy. He is still getting exposure to language and words! His interests will mature as he does. And with a dad like you, he will be exposed to a wide range of literature. You set that great example, and it's fantastic that you read to him and he submits to other kinds of books.

    1. Yes, perhaps I'm being a worry wart here. I didn't start reading until second or third grade. If anything he's miles ahead of me. Thanks.

  5. ((( Do you have any other ideas? )))

    Sit down Manny! I want to talk to YA, Man to Man! First of all, I want you to know that as a father who has raised five girls and I want YA to forget the part that a few of them left the home front at sixteen and eighteen and long story short, let's say that some in society taught that "I" was too hard on them but nowadays I see them more often than I did back then and...................................................and......................................

    AND I HEAR YA MANNY! Sorry Victor #2 but t me, myself and i don't have time to listen to the book that YAR about to read me now! :)

    All kidding aside Manny! The few things that I did right back
    when was:


    1st, I got them all Baptised and even made each one of them smile when they were born. Although some said that "IT" was only gas but I knew differently.

    2nd My wife and I made sure that they all did their first Communion

    3rd They all freely chose to receive Confirmation even though one of our daughters lost both of her god parents cause they had changed religion at the time but longer story short, Loved Prevailed for those "Three Blessed Sacraments".


    I hear YA again Manny! Thanks Victor! You've got some of my readers who don't know YA suffering from "Paranoia" now! LOL

    REALLY? :)

    In that case, give my best to Matthew and your good wife and I'll be praying for you and your family twice as hard now! :(

    God Bless

  6. Thank you Victor. I'm sure you were a good father to your girls.

  7. Don't worry, the important thing is that he is reading- or showing an interest in reading. Lots of kids don't know how to read anymore, they can read text but not actual books. Keep finding exciting things for him to read. Maybe other adventure stores that do not have super heros but explorers, pirates, mountain men,. Tom said to tell you to get him the comic books Classics Illustrated which takes the classics and puts them into comic book format so Robin Hood, etc.

    1. Hey that's really good idea, the comic book classics. I'll see if I can still find them. Thank Tom for me!