My son’s copy of Percy Jackson has two bookmarks in it—his and mine.
We’re both reading it. Not only is it a great series and a lot of fun to read, but I’m realizing there are huge benefits to reading what he’s reading.
The best part is catching those really subtle teaching moments. For instance, part of the third book takes place in the Smithsonian, which we visited last year. So I’ll be able to talk to him about that. To me, that’s a great learning extension.
If I hadn’t been reading the book, I’d never have known about that opportunity.
Also, having read the book I know there are a lot of Greek names that are pronounced very differently from the way they’re spelled. I was able to tell him the correct pronunciations.
And I can judge for myself how scary the book is, given my son’s tolerance for certain types of scariness. For instance, you can hack the limbs off a monster all you like and it won’t bother my son. But show a little “portent” or foreshadowing, and he’s gonna have nightmares all week. Which explains why Voldemorte never bothered him, but he couldn’t sit through the evil queen’s threats in Cinderella 2.
Of course, you’re not going to want to read everything your kid reads. Nothing’s going to entice me to read the Scooby-Doo series, no matter what the benefits. So it helps to have a great children’s book reviewer you know and trust.
But if you can, pick up what your kid’s reading. It’s worth the effort.
The hardest part is finding time to read it, when he’s not reading it. I’ve found that the best strategy is to wait until he… falls… asleep… and then take the book out of his hands. Then I can read it for an hour or so before I go to sleep. Sneaky.