Six years ago I read a newspaper article that motivated me to keep my three sons interested in reading. It stated that some boys fall behind in reading because it is seen as a girl’s activity. Some boys never develop a love of reading because they are not encouraged by their parents to read at home. Instead, they are left unhindered to watch TV and play computer games. The lack of male teachers in primary tier education is also a factor, with fewer male role models for young boys.
The fact is that reading is the foundation of the learning process that children undergo throughout the education system. It is essential for language development and children learn directly from books. Reading is also an important tool for fun and relaxation.
I made it a personal mission to encourage reading in our home. Here are 5 tips to get and keep our boys reading.
Make Books Accessible
Since my boys could toddle about there have been books within their grasp. Around the rooms they play in there have always been baskets with books in them and shelves full of books.
To this day (my sons are now 11, 8 and 7) there are still books in every room they play in and bookshelves in their bedrooms.
If books are a part of their home children will see nothing unusual in picking a book up.
Join Your Local Library
Membership of libraries is free and libraries open up a whole reading world to your child.
I took mine to regular interactive story time sessions at our local library and from an early age they loved toddling around and picking out books from the shelves to take home. We head to the library every two or three weeks and the boys are still enthusiastic about going.
Be a Role Model
Boys need to see other males with books in their hands, reading for pleasure. When sons see their father reading it speaks volumes.
Read to Your Sons
Reading to your children can be an event in itself. It’s quality time with you, which kids crave. Reading together is incredibly cosy.
You can make a reading nook, a special reading tent, snuggle up together in bed and read, or grab a picnic blanket and sit under the shade of a tree in summer with an ice cream. Every December we read Christmas stories by candlelight with a mug of hot chocolate – and it’s an evening the boys still love.
Make reading together fun.
Let Them Choose What They Read
Make sure your boys read things that interest them. Reading is reading, whether it is a fact book, a comic or a Tolstoy epic. My youngest is Minecraft crazy and so many of the books he reads is on this topic. Fiction or non-fiction – let them decide what they want to read.
One of my favorite sights is seeing my sons lying in their beds at night, a reading light over their bed, engrossed in a book. I know it will get tougher, as they get older, to keep a love of reading alive, but the foundation is certainly in place.
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