Monday, November 25, 2013

Reading - Inspired by Penelope Trunk

My husband hates to read, and unfortunately, that apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Sam doesn't like reading much either. I'm the only weird one of the family, I love to read, but as a writer, that's kind of an occupational hazard!

So how do you get a kid who despises reading to actually read a book? 

This is one of the main reasons I let my daughter take my college level courses with me on Coursera because she loved to read all the quiz questions. At least she was reading, right?

One of my favorite bloggers, Penelope Trunk, also homeschools, more specifically, she unschools. She's not afraid to let her kids play video games all day and let them guide their own learning. Because of this, her kids are brilliant.

So I took a cue from Penelope and started letting my daughter play more video games. We're a family of gamers. In fact, my husband and I met playing Rainbow Six 3 on the original Xbox over nine years ago. Sam has already been playing games such as Gears of War 3.

I just heard a huge gasp among all of my readers. It's okay, I know what you're thinking. But here's the thing. Games such as Gears of War 3 and Modern Warfare 3, while violent offer an unmatched opportunity to develop hand eye coordination.

As an ophthalmic technician, who has spent 17 years in the field, and a gamer, hand-eye coordination isn't well developed in adults.

From personal experience, I know that video games can improve vision. Specifically first person shooters which actually strengthen the connection between the eyes and the occipital lobe of the brain including the lateral genticulate body (a part of the brain that determines ocular dominance and binocularity).

In English, that means that if the lateral genticulate body isn't stimulated properly, the child could end up with a lazy eye, despite the fact that the eye itself is perfect. That's why I let my daughter play games like Battlefield 4, Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3. Gears of War has the added benefit of being able to turn off the blood effects. :)

So what does all this have to do with getting Sam to read? Well, Sam has been playing the game Ice Age Village on the Kindle, and she loves  it. So I got the brilliant idea to see if I could find a few books for her to read on the Kindle since she seems to prefer the use of electronic devices for her learning than using an actual workbook or reading an actual novel.

I found an illustrated (and free!) version of Alice in Wonderland and downloaded it last night. This is what happened:

She dove right into the book!
She made it to page 15 before I made the mistake of asking her how the book was and broke her concentration. Whoops! That's one of the problems with ADHD, kids can hyperfocus, but the second you distract them, it's all over!

But I'm excited about the fact that I actually got her to read!!

Then Greg and I had the discussion about what to let her read. Personally, I don't care what she reads as long as she is reading. She can read Catcher in the Rye for all I care as long as she's reading.  Of course, Greg wasn't happy with that because he was afraid of having to have the "talk" with Sam. You know what, knowledge is knowledge. Fine, I'll have the talk with her. The point is: SHE'S READING, and reading means LEARNING.

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