please mum can we play the metaphor game?

Here’s a “who-woulda-thunk?” idea to add to your Minor But Magical Adjustments list for enticing your Reluctant Reader:

My 11-yr-old gets a quarter for every metaphor or simile he finds in the novel we’re reading together. He also has to explain what is being compared to what. If he guesses wrong, he loses a dime.

So far he’s earned $4.55 and he can’t get enough of it (if your kid isn’t as fiscally motivated as mine, you could clock 5 extra minutes of reading for every score). He reads over my shoulder to make sure he misses nothing. Debates over “the fire died down” and “his spirits rose” led us to a discussion of dead metaphors and whether they count. He’s also started observing prose style in general: he pointed out that people’s gazes are too often “deep” and “dark” in The Dark is Rising.

Praise be, the child has no idea yet how fundamentally nerdy a game this is! This is probably something he’ll describe someday to his friends at the pub as an example of his parents’ cruel eccentricities. Or if poetic justice prevails, someday he’ll lampoon me in a novel.

Next up: a simpler version for little brother, who is envious and resents being bragged to.

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