Last week, I was in my kitchen listening to NPR, like always, when a segment came on about the Backseat Book Club and instantly thought “what fun,” but then I frowned, knowing every chapter book entering our house seems to have a boy barrier in it. Ya know that spot, somewhere in the first chapters, where the young, male, reader decides the book is a dud.
While listening to the discussion about the May 2012 selection, Heart of a Samurai, I was secretly begging the voices on the radio to give me a hint of how I could get books that are worth reading read in my house. Instead, I was a little down trodden because I had just listened to a wonderful discussion about a seemingly wonderful book and I had no idea how to present it to the kids.
Then it hit me… I’ll read it to them!
Before I could get distracted and lose my fabulous idea, I went to my computer to find the book at Amazon.
There it was, just a click away from being in my possession. Then all of a sudden I was scared that the boy barrier was more than just a problem of text and eyes. Would they give up part of their summer to listen to me read? Could I compete with back yard adventures, video games and the swimming pool?
Yes, if I could present the idea in the right way. In this case, my marketing skills were needed as I attempted to create the perfect summer reading package.
I can’t tell you what might float your kids’ boat, but at my house a cuddle in the bed is a coveted activity. It’s equally enjoyable on lazy weekend mornings and for rewatching the Last Airbender on Netflix, so that was my hook.
With my idea in hand, I began my sales process… “Summer vacation is almost here,” I would say to one of my boys, “Don’t you think we should have some more cuddle time?”
Then, with one buy-in for cuddling I’d wait till I had boy #2 in a position to answer a casual question and then ask, “Your brother thinks we should have more cuddle time this summer, what do you think?”
Then a little later in the day I’d ask, “Do you remember when I use to read stories to you all the time? Wasn’t that fun?”
Of course they said yes, I wasn’t asking questions to get a no. But with my pile of freshly minted “Yeses,” the Snuggle-up Book Club was born.
In the days we waited for our books to arrive from Amazon, I kept the hype going. “Oooh, the books have shipped!” And , “they’ll be here tomorrow!” “When do you want to start the book club?” “Should we wait until the end of school, or start when they get here?”
- We read at least one chapter a day.
- If we don’t read our chapter, we’ll make it up the next time we snuggle up to read.
- We can always read ahead, but not as an excuse to skip a day.
We also decided we can take our book club on the road. One suggestion was to take a blanket when we walk the dogs out in the field and let the dogs run while we read.
Now all I have to do is make sure the club lives up to the hype, but I’ve got them this far, I think I can get them through the boy barrier this summer and a little more excited about books.