When I was nine years old, I was a voracious reader. It was not odd for me to spend the weekend on the sofa reading one book after another. I had this thing about needing to finish a book once I started it, so books were pretty much devoured. Which led me to need more books. The annual book fairs at school were to me what sample sales are to a fashionista. I just couldn't get enough. Part of the reason I have to wear glasses now is because I would read by the nightlight in my room when I was supposed to be asleep. "Just one more chapter and I'll stop..."
My son's not that way. I'm not really sure why. He's nine years old, and hasn't read much outside of what's required and the occasional comic book. He has an extensive vocabulary and can carry on a fine conversation with any adult, but this skill does not come as a result of being impressively well-read. He just hasn't seemed to want to pick up a book in his free time.
All of a sudden, my son's reading the way I used to...well, in a way. He isn't gobbling up books one after another as if they are going out of style, but when he finds one he's interested in, he'll scarf it down in a day or two, ready for the next installment. He's not reading Lord Byron or Mark Twain, but he is reading. That's all I care about. I read somewhere that reading below one's level increases speed and fluency. It may also foster a willingness to read more, if my son's newfound reading appetite is any indication.
What's he been reading with such zeal? Time Warp Trio books and Pirates of the Caribbean novels. And I couldn't be happier.