Location: Alabama, USA
Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher
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.