I love to read – always have since I was a child. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I decided to volunteer as a reading helper to work with children. I wanted to share my passion for reading with children who had not yet discovered theirs.
While reading together with my students is important, demonstrating a positive attitude about reading (and learning) is just as critical to their developing reading habits. As reading role models we are influential and can have a positive impact on boys’ attitudes toward reading with just a few positive steps.
Keep a Positive Attitude About Reading
Even as boys begin to explore their independence, they still learn from you and will emulate your good example. Talk about reading in a positive light, as something you enjoy. If we talk about reading as a chore, boys will think it is one.
Share Your Experience
Let boys see you read. No words or instructions can replace actually seeing you enjoy reading.
I keep a book or newspaper nearby when I meet with my students to show them what I am reading. Sometimes their eyes open incredibly wide at the length of the book and other times they laugh at a funny photo in the newspaper. Whatever it is I share with them, it helps give them a glimpse into my reading habits and how reading can be enjoyed. I always reinforce their reactions with something positive like, “the book is really long, but so good and I love sitting down every night to read the next chapter”.
Be a Good Listener
Let boys share their reading experiences with you. Listening is just as important as – if not more important than – talking about good reading habits. They would prefer to show you what they like than be told what they should enjoy.
Ask questions about the books or texts that they have read. Ask what they enjoy to read the most. Let boys talk about themselves, not only is that an opportunity for self-discovery that they may not get often enough, but it will emphasize to them that reading can include their interests and be an enjoyable activity. Your positive feedback will help make them more confident readers.