Submitted by missusbee5
There are so many other things a boy can be doing. Typically, if given a choice, reading will not be at the of his list of things to do. However, with a little creativity in limiting (not eliminating) his options, he will be more inclined to read.
TV, Video Game, and Computer-Free Day
One idea is to plan a TV/video/computer-free day. If you want, you could make it a whole weekend or even a whole week (if you dare)! But plan ahead for this. Don’t spring it on him all of a sudden. Make sure you have plenty of interesting literature on hand. You could even make it a date to spend with him, taking him to the library or bookstore and then going to get him a treat to enjoy while he reads. Make this time an enjoyable experience and not something he considers to be a punishment. Also, plan it regularly. Once a month would be a good start to make this a family tradition.
Reward Reading Time
Another way to limit activities is to let him earn time to do alternative activities of choice. In other words, you reward equal time doing a preferred activity for time spent reading. For example, one hour of extra curricular reading equals one hour earned towards watching TV.
Scavenger Hunt Reading Game
Another creative way to limit other activities is to play a scavenger hunt game. First, take away the object of his affection (the thing he spends the most time doing) and hide it somewhere safe. Put a book in its place and put a note in or on the book telling him that when he finishes reading that book, he will receive a clue that will help him to find his missing game/toy. Make it as challenging as you need to and gear it toward your child at his age level.
My final suggestion for limiting activities is to create structure. Set limits and create schedules for activities. Put reading in the schedule and make it a priority. Let him know that reading is important and therefore comes first. Then allow time for the lesser productive activities. This also teaches responsibility and work ethic. Work first, then play. Even though reading should not be considered a chore, if it becomes a part of a daily routine, it will become a good habit.
You can use any or all of these suggestions and even come up with your own. Use whatever works for you. The point is that your son needs guidance and encouragement to read. As parents, it is our job to set limits and encourage reading. Be a leader and take an active roll if you want to raise your son to enjoy reading.
Location: Florida, U.S.
Position: Classroom Teacher
Motivation in mental areas involves mental reward received for mental work expended. Reading is an abstract skill requiring more mental energy to visual, organize, relate, reflect, and yes, use the phonics and one’s already large social vocabulary to learn to read more independently.
The problem with students, especially boys is that reading and reading enjoyment requires more mental energy to perform those abstract skills. Boys due to differential treatment are taxed more so by society that creates higher average stress or layers of mental frictions, leaving less mental energy to read with enjoyment and so motivation to read.
These differences in treatment are affecting Male students very negatively. The need for boys to generate feelings of self-worth are driving boys to more video games and sports. You see boys are given love, honor, respect only on condition of sufficient achievement, status, image, etc. This was designed to make Males tough. Boys can achieve given proper treatment. However, from below boys are not in general given the same treatment. When due to differential treatment, they cannot achieve in reading or other, they will then be forced to generate feelings of self-worth – love, honor, respect through sports, video games or other.
1. Boy children even less than a year old were (and are) given more aggressive treatment to make them tough to compete in the big physical world.
2. Boys were (and are) not given kind, stabilizing, nurturing, mental, emotional, social, verbal, interaction and other kind, caring treatment for fear of coddling the Male child, again to make them tough.
3. Boys were (and are) by design not given love, honor, respect unless they display some form of achievement, status, image, etc. All of this was designed to make boys tough.
Girls were (and are) given more protection from that big physical world, because it was very physical and bad back then. Since girls did not have to be tough, girls could be(and are) given much kind, stabilizing, mental, emotional, social, verbal, interaction from a young age without regard to need for strength. Also since girls did not need to be strong, they were (and are) given love honor, and respect simply for being girls. This protective treatment extended (and extends today) through adulthood.
Now we are living in the information age where the need and means to make a living have been “completely reversed”. The toughness, aggressive, neglectful treatment given boys is still in place even from infancy. This is creating higher average stress that impedes thinking, learning, and motivation to learn (mental reward received for mental work expended). It also creates higher activity in working class Males, less stability there – activity is used as a natural stress relief. In addition boys fall behind in writing due to higher muscle tension created by the high average stress that affect handwriting ability and motivation to write. Note, Middle/Upper class kids do not have this problem of need for higher activity nor do they have the higher muscle tension that inhibits handwriting skills and motivation to write. The lack of kind, caring mental, emotional, social, verbal interaction create a tremendous lag in mental, emotional, social, and verbal skills.
In addition, this creates more wariness of social contact due to lack of accumulated skills and more aggression given to boys from a young age. This defensiveness also creates the Male Ego or defensive front boys, later men put on to help protect them from aggression they have received. This further impedes positive social interaction with significant others (teachers).
Girls on the “other hand” are now reaping a windfall of many fine information age skills. The much protection and care girls receive from infancy onward create lower average stress, ease of nature (less need for activity for stress relief), and lower muscle tension that makes handwriting easier, more neat, and more rewarding. The much kind, positive, stabilizing, verbal and other social interaction increase their mental, emotional, social, verbal, and academic skills along with a feeling of love and support as they use that instilled social knowledge in a school setting with teachers.
Since girls were (and are) given love, honor, respect, (no need to be tough) simply for being girls, they have an almost assurance of good treatment in society through adulthood. This protection also allows for much more freedom of expression to both vent, gain further support, and more care. This is why girls mature faster than boys. These differences have been socially created.