"I divide all readers into two classes; those who read to remember and those who read to forget."
~William Lyon Phelps
Boys love playing. Boys love to make sounds and run around expelling lots of energy and unlimited curiosity. Boys think gadgets and technology are better than chocolate cake. When it comes to books? Well, lets just say a lot of boys struggle with keeping focused and being fascinated by them, long term.
First let's talk about how to help your son read as he reads a book to you. If he reads out loud and gets stuck on a word, for heaven's sake don't make him sit there and stumble around - just give the word to him quickly, have him repeat it out loud to you, and move on. We make the mistake of pausing, fighting with the sounds, criticizing your son's efforts which only results in both of you getting frustrated. Not only do you then lose the flow of the language but sadly the fun of the story and reading happily together as well. If he experiences trouble, give him a clue as to what the word may be, wait five more seconds and then just give him the word. If your child makes a mistake and his reading continues without a pause, ignore it and go on. If your child makes a mistake and hesitates (which is a good sign), wait five seconds, then ask if what he read made sense. If not, suggest looking at the problem word. If there's still no progress, simply give him the word and read on.
The rule of five: How do you know if a book is really too difficult for your child? Ask your child to read a page to you out loud. If he makes more than five mistakes on that page, it's time for you to take over the reading or for him to chose a simpler book for him to read out loud to you.
How to keep boys reading:
Dad is the role model. Boys look to see if their fathers are reading because that gives reading value. One recent Canadian study suggests that moms still do 90 percent of all reading to kids - surely it's time for that to become fifty-fifty.
Non-fiction is tops. For kids who are tired of novels, try nonfiction books about hockey, dinosaurs, cars, or space. Find a topic that your child is passionate about and run with it. Read catalogues and maps and lists from the Guinness Book of Records. Adventure, to boys, is key. A good boy's book always asks the question, "What would you do if you were in this situation?" Try the Roy MacGregor Screech Owls series or some good fantasy writers, such as Lloyd Alexander, for reading that will really grab their attention. Magazines are also a great choice. Maybe try subscribing to a monthly magazine like National Geographic that will come in the mail with his name on it. Often libraries run programmes targeted for boys so also check out that option too. Hand them the comics from the newspaper you are reading and then share the best together after you both have read. Find ways to implement words into his life during the day.
Read on and read always! Have an awesome weekend and challenge those guys in your family to pick up a book and read. See you back here on Monday!