How did I know that Nate would throw me under the bus like that and incorrectly pigeon-hole me as a “stuffy” reader. Actually, I argue that all parents, teachers, and youth workers need to broaden their definition of reading. Reading is the ability to critically interpret texts. If you buy that, then that means that going to a museum and looking at sculptures and paintings is reading, because art is a text. That means that watching TV or going to see movies is reading. That means that having conversations with people (face-to-face) is reading.
So, I think that our kids will be more likely to read a variety of mediums if we agree with them that they are already reading: blogs, facebook pages, magazines, newspapers, comics, graphic novels, websites, twitter, IM, texting, and even atiquated books.
I know I’m a reader now because my folks didn’t hammer me about only reading certain types of books. I read Sports Illustrated, Encyclopedia Brown, and Ranger Rick magazine. That was OK with them.
That said, it’s always good to stretch ourselves and our kids. Validate what they read, then recommend something you like. I’ve got plenty of horror stories of how well-intentioned parents ruined reading for their kids because they would not let them be kids and read what they liked.
Ultimately, if mom wants to read Bill Gaither, then great. I’m sure it’s a page-turner.