3 Ways to Get Your Son Reading!
Literacy is of major importance for both parents and teachers alike. As an English teacher, I want to build the skills necessary for my students to access and analyze and write about complex text independently so that they are prepared for high school, college, and life. As a parent, I want my children to love books, to enjoy the time they spend reading, and to know as readers what they like and dislike. In the age of constant distraction from phones, YouTube, and the game, it can be hard to get your kids excited to read. Here are a few simple tips to help develop your son’s love of books.
1. Engage the power of choice.
Research shows that we are more likely to be engaged in, and therefore enjoy, the things we get to choose for ourselves. It is ok, in fact, even encouraged, to let your son choose what he wants to read. If your son chooses to read Captain Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Big Nate, allow him to, even if you think he should be reading more challenging books. Likewise, comic books, magazines, and even game tutorials will all help him develop skills in literacy. When you’ve found something your son likes, make those types of texts readily available to him, and you may be surprised at what he chooses to read. Allowing your son choice will let him come to love reading on his own terms, and to understand his own preferences, which is a powerful development in the journey of a reader.
2. Model the reading behaviors you want to see.
Our children imitate everything we do. If you want your son to see reading as exciting and important, he needs to see the important adults in his life reading. As a working mom, I know this can be hard to fit into a day, but I try to make sure my children see me reading something every day, even if it is for just a few minutes. By modeling my own love of reading, I am able to let my children see that reading is more than a boring chore; it is something even adults find fun and exciting.
3. Make time to talk about reading.
One of my favorite parts of teaching English is that I get to enjoy reading as a shared experience. I find that when I talk to my students, both whole group and individually, about what we are reading, they are encouraged to read more and to find something they love about a text. Just like your sons need to see you reading, they also need to hear you talk about what you love to read and what you’ve learned from what you’ve read. Most importantly, they need the opportunity to do the same things themselves. Make time for this by using car rides, meal times, and waiting rooms as times to talk about reading.
- Sara Nelson, 8th Grade ELA Teacher at Grizzlies Prep
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