Thursday, July 17, 2008


During the summer, Grandma and I are child sitting for our two younger grand daughters. The other day it was just the older of the two and I. So, what does an old guy and a girl 9 years old do? She likes to play on-line games - some are violent and I don't think she should be playing, but it's her parents' decision. In order to try to get her away from the games, I offered to buy her a late breakfast and then go to a book store for some looking around. I've had some success in getting the other oldest grand daughter(14 yoa) to read, so I saw this as an opportunity to get this one into reading. It's not that she doesn't read. Most if her reading is connected with school and homework. No reading for pleasure. So, after a large breakfast (the grand daughters know how to get the most outta Grandpa), we went to Barnes and Noble. I directed her to the kids section and helped her look around. Initially, she wanted books with toys attached. I discouraged that and we continued to look. She finally settled on a book and a magazine. The mag was a "fan-zine" covering most of the teen stars on TV. It included pull-out posters. We got home and she started reading the magazine and looked into the book. So far, so good. I hope over the next several days she'll read the book instead of going on-line.

So, now we come to yesterday. Yesterday it was just me and the youngest (7 yoa). I thought I'd try the same thing with her. In fact, she insisted because her sister went with me the day before and, well, you know fair is fair. So, off we went to breakfast. She wanted Micky-D's and chose chicken nuggets for her breakfast. Then it was off to the book store. First thing she spotted was a toy, a bright, pink toy camera, attached to a book better suited to 3-4 year old kids. I tried to direct her away from it. We toured the entire kids' section and while she looked at many books, she went back to that one with the toy. I know there can be great differences in maturity and interests between kids just two years age different, so I didn't fight it. We got her the book and departed.

Today when I got here (we do the sitting at the kids' home), the youngest started "taking pictures" of me with her bright, pink toy camera. So, I guess I'll try another day.

I've encouraged all three grand daughters to read explaining that reading is so much better than watching TV or playing on-line games. With reading, I explain, the reader can make pictures in their head from their imagination. That's better than looking at a picture made from someone else's imagination. It's a hard sell, but I stay with it. Over time it may sink in. It seems to be working for the oldest grand daughter. Just a matter of maturity I guess. But, that's what grand parents are supposed to do. I'm in for grand parent teaching.

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