Saturday, September 05, 2009

Print-a-Phobia: I Don't Like to Read! by Nancy Carlson

Henry was now in first grade.

And he was learning lots of new things.

But there was one thing Henry did not like about first grade.


"Reading is boring!!" he said. "It's dumb!"

Henry has always enjoyed listening to stories at home and at school. But now it seems that everyone else in his class is reading for themselves. His best friend Tony even brags that he can read anything upside down! But to Henry even right side up the letters and words seem just a jumble.

"All the words and letters just don't make sense!" Henry cried.

"That's okay, Henry." said his teacher, Mr. McCarthy. "Everyone learns to read in their own way."

And with extra help at home and from Mr. McCarthy the letters begin to come together for Henry. "STOP," "PIZZA," and even the title of Carlson's own book I LIKE ME! begin to pop out at him. But it is not until Henry's babysitter stops in the middle of an exciting story to yak on the phone for what seems like forever that Henry picks up the book and discovers that he can actually finish the story for himself and his little brother Pete.

Recently reissued in a new paperback edition, notable author Nancy Carlson's I Don't Like to Read! (Puffin, 2009) takes her character through one of the educational bumps in the road which a substantial number of kids hit when they begin learning to read. Carlson's book reassures the frustrated emergent reader, lowers the pressure to read right away gently, and while not glossing over the extra work required, shows that anyone can become a reader.

Earlier Henry books in the series are Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come (Picture Puffins), Henry's 100 Days of Kindergarten, and First Grade, Here I Come!

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