I’ve been trying to get a book group going with my niece and nephew, but we keep getting hung up by one thing: My nephew is afraid that he reads too slowly and won’t finish the book when my niece and I do. Yes, that’s true. But whoop-dee-do, you know? My nephew is ten and was slow to the reading train. My niece is 12 and was pretty much on the reading train before she was born. She and I share books and we have for years. She used to read to her brother when it was his bedtime, which was the cutest stinkin’ thing in the world! But even though my nephew is a slower reader, he’s a reader. And when he loves a book, he LOVES a book. It really is one of the coolest things when I have conversations with him about what he’s reading. I love it.
But back to the book group. I hate the idea that he doesn’t want to be part of it because his reading pace doesn’t match his sister’s or mine. Fact of the matter is, my reading pace doesn’t match many of my peers, but I still read voraciously (slow and steady as it may be). This got me thinking: How many people don’t read because they feel like they should be better readers? Or how many people don’t join book groups because they are afraid they won’t be able to finish the book in time? I’ve known people who are uncomfortable hanging out with my friends and me because we talk about books a lot, and they felt intimidated (their word) by the conversation.
Does reading really require keeping up with the Joneses? If feeling less than adequate as a reader is preventing people from reading, then we’re doing things wrong.
Do you ever step back from a book or from reading because you don’t feel like you can take it on or won’t read it fast enough? Do you know others who feel that way? How can we encourage readers (especially young ones) to read, and to be comfortable doing so at their own pace?