Location: Hawaii, USA
I am a mother of 4 boys. Four typical, active boys who would rather be playing video games, wrestling aound with pals or playing outside– than read. So my friends are amazed when they find out that my sons are in the reading groups at school- but still hate to read? They quickly ask- How do I get them to read? and How did they learn to read if they hate “practicing”?
My secret is …
I started a book club for my oldest when he was just in first grade and it has become a tradition in our household. My second son was excited to read because then he could have his ownbook club. And this tradition has passed down through each son. I wish my sons liked to read. I wish I could inspire them to pick up a book and read for enjoyment- instead of setting the timer to read the minimum and check it off their homework list each night. But the reality right now is…my sons don’t like to read. I am happy and content that they can read and will read if they have:
1. A book with STRONG boy appeal.
(no fru-fru girly plots or “deep feelings”) We like Dan Gutman, Gary Paulsen and Andrew Klavan… to name a few authors who cater to boys.. LOTS of ACTION and fast paced plot.
2. A deadline with a reward.
They like having a goal. They know they have until the end of the month to read this book and then our BOOK CLUB will meet. We play games, snack on foods, do activities that are inspired by the book we just read. If there is a movie- we watch it and compare the book to the movie!
A few other tips and tricks I’ve used are:
Listening to books on tape/cd while in the car.
Taking turns to read aloud. (I’ll read a page and they read the last paragraph, or sentence or word on each page. Start small and build up.)
Having kid friendly magazines in the house. My boys love Ranger Rick- a magazine about Animals and Sports Illustrated-KIDS. They are more likely to thumb through and read an article or two in a magazine then pick up a lengthy book to read. (plus they have GREAT pictures to support most articles.)
If you are interested in starting a book club for your reluctant reader- be sure to check out Bookclub4boys.com website. I offer all the book club outlines and ideas we’ve used in our book clubs… free!
Most importantly is stay positive and don’t give up! Make reading enjoyable- even if YOU have to read to your son. Helping boys connect to books and the written word is important… the more he connects to books, the more likely he’ll realize he likes the stories and information found there.