Friday, July 20, 2012

Reading: Nurture vs Nature

As my kids and my sister's kids grow, I take a look at our kids and their preferences to reading. Her kids do not like to read. My mom and I have worked to try and find books to pique their interest, but the unfortunate bit is, if there are more words than pictures, they are not interested.

My kids are younger than hers, but my 3 year old absolutely loves books. When my husband's parents are here, he takes them book after book because he knows they will read to him for hours. Nap and bed time must have a story or two. Or three. Then, of course, every time I write something or are reading something, he wants to sit on my lap so I can read it to him.

So reading is nurtured. Right?

Mmm, I don't buy it. Here's why.

My mom, as interested in she is in getting her grandkids to read, is not a reader. With my sister and I, she didn't read to us. She got us books on tape, though, so the opportunity was there. I became an obsessed reader. I read every book my librarian handed to me. I was part of a book club. Heck, I would read road signs if there was nothing else.

My sister did not like to read unless it was very specific - teens with attitude, dystopian environments, Edgar Allen Poe. It wasn't until she was much older that she began to enjoy reading more, but it's still not a love an definitely not a priority.

So, in that case, was I just wired in a way that made reading easy and fun? As I grew, I wanted to write, too, finding stories in everything, so maybe it was something in my make-up that made me more apt to be able to suspend belief and dive into all those different worlds.

This is a debate that could go on for a while, but I think I'll leave my post where it is and open up the comments.

Do you think reading is more nature, or nurtured? Why?


  1. Challenging question. My mother unlike yours loved reading and still does. She read to both my brother and I like you read to your kids. Once my brother learned to read he didn't like it, I couldn't get enough. Mom stopped reading to my brother when he was 6. It was his choice, he just didn't like it. My mom and I read together before bed until I was 10 and only because I was impatient and could get through so much more text on my own. As adults, my brother only reads what he has to to learn what he needs to know. My mother and I swap books, sending our best stories to each other in the post. Interestingly my partner's parents never read to him, yet he loves reading as much as I do. Personally, I think nurtured or not. Some people just love reading, and others simply don't.

    1. I think I'm agreeing with you. Reading can be taught, but the love of reading is something else entirely. :)


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