Saturday, August 29, 2015

Scripture Study and a Thought

By Jewel Leann Williams

Hello. My name is Leann and I have a confession I need to make. I have a child who...

HATES to read.  (Audience gasps)

Yup. He has said multiple times in the past two weeks, that 


Can you believe it? 

So I've been trying to find ways to engage him. He wants to be a scientist, so I've tried that angle. I printed out a bunch of stuff on Albert Einstein, which he found interesting enough to read for, oh, five minutes, and then declared it was stupid too.  Books that his siblings like, he does not. I imagine it is because it doesn't come easy for him, so he doesn't want to do it. Whatever the reason, it is already causing me headaches, because he has to not only read daily for 30 minutes, but he also has to write a pretty comprehensive book report every grading period. So, I've been trying everything I know to do, to help him. 

The other day, I was reading my scriptures, during one of those admittedly rare times when I can do so without "MomMomMom  I need water, let me play onyour phone,Abby'stouching me can I have a fruit snack....." echoing around me. I had out my paper for notes, and I had been praying and pondering about how to help my family, my non-reader especially. I was reading in Mosiah and immediately this verse stood out:   

3 And he caused that they should be taught in all the language of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding; and that they might know concerning the prophecies which had been spoken by the mouths of their fathers, which were delivered them by the hand of the Lord.
(Mosiah 1:3)

It hit me that this scripture is 1)something I can give my son as a reason to read, and 2)this can be my mantra for when I want to give up on teaching my children.  Trust me, with the new school and their love of homework, I really want to give up about 750 times between 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm. It is important to be taught/learned in the language of our fathers, to become men/women of understanding, and also in order to learn the Gospel. It's not just for school/reading addiction enablement. 

Something else that keeps coming to mind with regards to reading, more specifically addresses our Book of Mormon studies. It's a promise that originally was spoken by Elder Marion G. Romney, but was echoed and expanded upon by President Ezra Taft Benson:

I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase, mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to that counsel. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the true love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness. (436)      

What a promise! I love that President Benson adds that parents need to be reading the Book of Mormon themselves as well as with the kiddos. It's not enough to just be having our nightly Book of Mormon reading. I have to be studying it myself in order to avail myself of this promise. 

I am so grateful for our living prophets and for the Book of Mormon. When I am lost or struggling with things like a kid who doesn't want to read (still trying to wrap my head around that), or whatever it might be, I know I can go to my scriptures and find answers. I know that Heavenly Father uses the scriptures to provide answers to my prayers, because he did that for me this week. 

PS, here's a link to a great page I found about WHAT to teach our children from the Book of Mormon. I found it while looking for the exact words of that promise I quoted above. 


  1. Not sure what his reading level is, but one thing I've done when my kids just don't feel like it (they all love to read, lucky me- their dad HATES it!) is to get a book that's really gripping and intense and I'll read the first chapter (or first few) to them. Once they're hooked they can't help it- they HAVE to know what happens, even if that means (gasp) reading it themselves!

    One book my kids got really into was The Mysterious Benedict Society- kind of a scientific vein in that one he might enjoy (my son's really into science too). There are also some good survivalist stories, like Hatchet or My Side of the Mountain. All of my kids also really like to read "graphic novels" (comic books)- not a perfect solution, but at least it gets them reading. My son also recommends Geronimo Stilton.

    I love how you made the gospel connection here. Very true. :-)

    1. My Side of the Mountain, Hatchet, and EVERTASTER-- He LOVES the concept, but once he has to read the words, it's boring and stupid and he hates it. Even, the amazing and wonderful book THE MYSTIC MARBLE, the epitomy of "gripping" since HE is the main character (it's my WIP), he read the first few pages and then decided "It's a good story, Mom. I just don't want to read it." The crux is that he just doesn't like the reading part. I'm sure it's more the frustration level.

      It's funny. I TOTALLY thought of My Side of the Mountain and Hatchet. I dug them out a couple of weeks ago for that exact purpose.

  2. I too have a daughter that hated to read. Like your son it doesn't come easy for her. I work at an elementary school as a reading tutor and my daughter didn't like to read!!! It was frustrating. I realized that phonics didn't work for her. She memorized words instead of sounding them out. So I began to download audio versions of a book and I would have her listen to a book and follow along in the paper version as well. We did this for the first 5 books of the Harry Potter books. This way she could see a word and hear it pronounced at the same time and commit it to memory. One day we were at a book store and she had birthday money. She found a book, The Land of Stories, that she wanted to buy. I was skeptical and told her I wasn't buying the audio version. She insisted she would read it and she did. Then the next book in the series, then the next and then the next! I would like to say she's gone on to read other books as well, but so far she only likes to read The Land Of Stories books. But at least she's reading. Even if she just reads the same books over and over again. I'm hoping one day she will again be in a book store and suddenly decide she wants to try a book!

  3. As an educator, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said he may not like reading because it doesn't come easily for him. That really is 'a thing'. Ways you might try are having him follow along to an audio book version that has good inflection. I don't know his level, but is a good one for emerging readers. Also, boys tend to like books with lots of white space around the words and books with lots of little captions near pictures, think Guiness Book of World Records. Good luck....reading is crucial, but some just don't like it. You're a great mom!

  4. Loved your post and the spiritual tie in. I wish you the best of luck. I have two non-loving readers, but then one fell in love with Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Lemony Snickett and Harry Potter...and another liked the Warrior series. But those breakthroughs didn't happen until 5th and 6th grade. The reading levels can often be tricky too with comprehension.
    Good luck!!!



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