Reading books

Caitlin - posted on 09/02/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I'm completely at a loss with this one. I have 2 daughters. My oldest is almost 3, the younger one is 18 months. I am a HUGE advocate of reading, and always wanted to start reading to them from an early age. Added to that, my older daughter LOVES letters and numbers and singing her ABC's, she'll BEG me to sing them with her. I love that she loves it so much. She also LOVES books. I have quite the collection of board books and regular books, learning to read books, books about animals and everything,(a lot were hand me downs in good condition so I have a full half bookshelf of them).

When I read, she climbs on my lap and constantly points to letters and tells me what they are (cute but somewhat annoying because I can't read when she does it, but I lvoe that she's eager to learn) She will BEG me to let her have a book, mostly I still give her the board books, because she is HORRIBLE to books. That is my problem. ANY book left anywhere near her (and it's been like this for a while) gets ripped, thrown and destroyed. I have tried taking it away (she'll pull a fit but then wander off and distract herself with something else), I've tried making reading time an "only with mommy" activity where we read together, but she refuses to let ME turn the pages, she will grab and tear at the book and pull a fit, but if I let her turn the pages she will grab the book and run off or flip all the pages, scream "the end" and then run away. She just doesn't seem to understand how books and stories work, no matter how much I try. I'd love to read them bedtime stories, but I can't do it for either of my girls, because the demon child will step in and destroy.

I'm at a loss. My younger one will sit there for loong periods of time (while her sister is not around) flipping pages to her favorite board books, looking at the pictures and she will let me read to her, but I can't do it while my older daughter is awake, because It always ends up in an activity of frustration.

This is pretty much an activity in frustration for me. I'm amazed at her learning ability for knowing all her letters and even identifying the phonetic sounds that a lot of the letters make, but if she wont look at or use a book properly, it's all for nothing really. I've had to scrap many books so far because no amount of tape could save them, even supervised, she sometimes manages a really good quick rip. Nothing I do seems to help her understand!

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Candyce - posted on 09/05/2011

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Sounds like she's being a fairly normal kid. Instead of paper books, try the board books. If she doesn't have the attention to sit and listen to an entire story, why not have her tell YOU the story? That's not a battle you want to fight, especially at this age. You're getting frustrated and she can see that. You don't want her to associate reading with negativity.

Cat - posted on 09/04/2011

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She will grow out of it, don't worry. Trust me, she won't be 15 and in school and tearing up her books. She's 3. But maybe you can tell her that because she rips the book, then she can only have it when you're reading them and that she can't have them until she learns to treat the books with care. She will throw fits, but you're the parent and the one in control so for now, just give her the board books and that's it.

Lissa - posted on 09/02/2011

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I would give her the board books for now (you can also get plastic coated books, I've seen them but never bought them) and just give her some time. Use the board books for bed time stories, why don't you get another copy of a few so your daughter can hold and turn the pages of one while you read the other. Just make books that she can't break available to her, she isn't quite three yet, just keep teaching her to be kind to books and eventually it will happen.

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Sally - posted on 09/05/2011

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Forcing a child to read your way instead of letting them enjoy books their own way is the fastest way to turn them off reading for life. Even if you do everything "right" your girls still may not like it.
Give her books that can take the abuse and let her alone. Fabric and plastic books are sturdier than board books. She's only 3. She won't be like this forever.
Good luck

[deleted account]

Can you start with her in your lap, then if she does something you don't want her too--like grab a page--then put her down at your feet so that she cannot reach.
She may throw a fit, if she does, just stop reading and go away. Eventually, she will learn that grabbing pages means she has to sit on the floor or that mommy will not read anymore. And eventually, she will learn how to read and treat books by watching you.

[deleted account]

Give her the board books only for non Mommy time.
Then when it comes to reading to her, have her sit at your feet and you sit in a chair (kindergarten teacher style) and read the story. Pick ones that are short for the first while.
Then continue to work on the how to treat a book and reinforce good book behaviour (sitting nicely with a book, turning the pages nicely etc) and immediately remove all books for negative book behaviour (tearing, bending,
stepping on, throwing etc).

Every child is different which is why you have the two polar opposites in your oldest and youngest.

Good luck!!

Cat - posted on 09/04/2011

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Oh and don't worry about her that she can't take care of her books while her younger sister can sit there and turn pages carefully. Every child is different and can't compare to each other. Your older one just sounds like a rambunctious 3 year old, which is not a bad thing. :)

Caitlin - posted on 09/03/2011

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Yeah, she's always been like this, I figured she'd outgrow it, but she hasn't yet. Since she seems SO interested when I read my books, I was hoping it would translate, but I guess they aren't the same thing to her. She has no interest in me reading MY books to her either (i tried that). I will see if I can find some non-destructable books and use those for a bit. Hopefully she'll figure it out soon.

Elfrieda - posted on 09/03/2011

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Did this behaviour just start recently, as in "it's a phase"? If so, it might be worth it to remove all the books and put them away for a week or so. I did that when my almost-2-year-old, who normally is pretty good with books, learned that he could bend them backwards, breaking their spines. I just left a few lying around, and when he found one and mistreated it, I took it away. Then a week or two later (with only very restricted access to them, like one story at bedtime where he was allowed to turn the pages but not hold the book) I took them out again and he's been fine since.

If she's always been like this, then I don't have any suggestions.

JuLeah - posted on 09/02/2011

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Have her make a book. She can draw pictures on each page, tell you what to write -short book, just a few pages. about her as that is a child's most loved topic. Then read that to her using gentle hands and careful hands to turn the pages.

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