The other morning, Ian was late - well, he's always late, so I guess I should say later than usual - for seminary, so I yelled down the stairs at him, "Stop wasting time reading that book!"
Okay, there are certain things that need to be understood here lest you fear my next step is to start making bonfires out of literature.
a) He was really late
b) He was reading some Calvin and Hobbes anthology
c) I didn't really mean to say "stop wasting time reading that book"
What I meant to say was "You're in big trouble, buster!" I think.
Jim Trelease, in his excellent book The Read Aloud Handbook, said that you shouldn't make not reading a punishment. I've tried over the years to follow that advice, but sometimes it makes it hard when the child in question is in trouble precisely because they're reading a book instead of doing what they should be doing. But I wanted my children to grow up to be avid readers. So I bought them the books, the bedside light, and the bookcase; I had read-aloud time with them just about every evening; I gave them books at birthdays and Christmas; and I refused to refuse them reading time.
I'm happy to report that my children have all grown up to be avid readers. The problem - if it is a problem - is that they tend to read the same things over and over again. They've read the Harry Potter series and the Tintin books and Calvin and Hobbes so many times that they have much of them memorized. And then the texts become a sort of secret language. They say things like "Yeah, cool, because Venus is in the twelfth house" and "Hoity-toity, aren't we grand!" and then they laugh like they've just shared the biggest joke ever, while I stand around looking befuddled.
I have my own quotes, though. "That will do," I say to them when they've carried on for a while. "You have delighted us long enough."