Technology has become a big part of our lives, no more so than our children. Tablets, smartphones and games consoles are all things that our kids seem to enjoy spending time on. This seems to have had a detrimental effect on some other old school ways to pass the time. Such as reading.
Boys, in particular, are not always keen on the idea of grabbing a book and sitting down to read. However, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to get your son reading more. In fact, you may be surprised to know that it isn’t always too tricky to get them hooked on reading. Sometimes they just need a spot of encouragement.
- Lead by example
One of the simplest ways to get your son to read more, is to lead by example. Boys may have firemen, footballers or perhaps racing car drivers as their role models, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t encourage a love of books within them. Children are incredibly likely to pick up on hobbies that their parents like, their father figures in particular. This means that if you want them to read more, then show them that you enjoy reading and they are likely to follow you.
2) Know that they can become distracted
It is a fact of nature that boys are much easier to distract than girls. They are less likely to sit still and focus on what they need to do, whereas girls will happily sit them for plenty of time just concentrating on colouring, drawing or of course reading.
The trick is not to be angry with your son if he is becoming distracted during reading. Otherwise you can turn what should be fun, into something that is most certainly not that. If you find that you are struggling to make the most of your reading time, then try out some physical ways to keep them focused. Pointing to things or pull funny faces during the story. This will keep them engaged and can improve their attention span.
3) Let them take control of bedtime reading
Reading at bedtime is a key bonding and development time for your child. Whilst some children are happy to be read to, you may find that your son wants to take charge as soon as they can put some words together. If this is true for you and your son, then maybe it is a good idea to let them try it out for themselves.
You may need to start with books that are slightly lower than his ability, however, just the idea that he is in charge is enough to encourage them to read more.
4) Read a book that matches their interests
You will be hard pressed to find a child who is happy to read something that they don’t like. This is particularly true when it comes to boys. The best way to encourage them to read, or enjoy reading time with you is to choose books that match what they are interested in. Don’t try and push your son towards books that they won’t enjoy, instead, let them make the decision. If they like spy thrillers, get them a Len Deighton or Robert Ludlum Novel. If they’re into fantasy, go classic with Lord of the Rings or perhaps something newer. It’s easy to find good new fantasy books today as there are a bunch of blogs such as The Snug Bookworm that provide insightful reviews for novels geared toward younger or new adult audiences (check the serpent and the wings of night review to get an idea). Or you know, let them choose the book they want to read. Let them experiment. Go shopping together to buy books, or visit the library to pick some books out.
5) Reward for positive behaviours
When it comes to raising children, whether they are boys or girls, you should always reward for positive behaviours. Not just punish for bad behaviour. If you find that your son is willing to read with you every night, or that you finish a book within one week, then you could offer them a little reward. Nothing too much of course. A good idea is to promote reading itself as a reward. That way, they will look forward to your time reading together, and you won’t have to think of new ways to reward them.
No matter whether you have a boy or a girl at home, reading is key for their developmental progress. Which means that it is definitely something that should be encouraged. Why not try out some of these tips for yourself and see if you can make a difference to their reading habits?