With the third movie from his bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series hitting theaters this weekend, author Jeff Kinney talked to us about his sons’ reading habits, the movie process, and why certain kinds of gaming is okay in his house.–As told to Abby West
ON GETTING HIS OWN CHILDREN TO BECOME READERS
When my books first came out I started getting emails from parents and teachers from all over the country who said, “This is the first book that my reluctant reader has ever read.” I was unfamiliar with the term “reluctant reader.” I’ve since come to realize that it’s a phenomenon. And I got so many of those letters that I thought that my boys [Will and Grant] were going to be reluctant readers as well.
And then my older son [9-year-old Will] really surprised me. He read a few Captain Underpants book and picked through mine. Then the next thing you knew, he was reading Harry Potter, and he’d read the whole series within a month and a half at the end of second grade. Then he moved on to the Rick Riordan Percy Jackson series and read the whole series in week, I think. So he sort of leapfrogged over my books or books that appeal to reluctant readers for these giant novels. My other son [7-year-old Grant] is just starting to really read but I expect this year will be a big one for him.
If one of my sons turned out to be a reluctant reader, I’d feel like they were falling behind their classmates. You can’t force somebody to like to do something. I’ve heard many tales of parents who bribe their kids or paid them off in stickers or something to read 15 minutes a night. So if both of my sons end up becoming readers on their own, I’d feel very lucky. I’d feel like I dodged a bullet. READ FULL STORY