Ideas and strategies on encouraging boys to read focusses on their interests using magazines, websites and newspapers for older boys and series books for younger boys. Reading practice is essential rather than what they read.
Often one of the biggest struggle parents have with our boys is getting them to read. We know that practice is best and the more someone reads not only do they get better at it, but it improves their vocabulary and their ability to make sense of a range of different texts.
When I was teaching Parent / Teacher interview nights were plagued by the same question over and over, “How can I get him to read?”
What we need to remember is that it doesn’t matter what they read as long as they’re reading. There isn’t a need for them to be reading novels in order for them to gain something from reading. (Of course novels are always our aim!)
Here’s some ideas or strategies about ways to encourage boys to read –
For Younger boys
If your son has recently read a book that he really enjoyed, hunt at either the library or on the internet for books written by the same author. Encourage him to read more by borrowing the book from the library or buying it if that is within your means.
Often when a movie is released all the licensed paraphernalia is also. This often includes picture / story books which retell the plot of the movie. Our son loves to read these. The knowledge he has of the plot makes him more confident about reading the books and he loves to dwell on the pictures that go along with it. It’s a great way to encourage them to read.
Parents used to comment to me all the time that their sons weren’t reading. I’d instantly ask “Not at all?” and they’d reply “Well he reads his skating magazines but…”
Remember that reading is reading no matter what it is! Magazines are a great way to encourage boys to read, especially if they are about a hobby or sport your son loves.
Try something different though.
National Geographic’s, Time and Readers Digest are great magazines to subscribe to or have around the house. These are magazines that are current, are interesting and have brief informative articles in them that are great for all the family.
The Readers Digest and Time magazines in particular have some great little features like ‘Vocab’ tester pages that can be fun and interesting statistics pages.
Often you can pick up check ‘bundles’ of all of these mags at second hand stores so there’s not a need to subscribe.
Have the paper delivered to your home or make sure you pick one up each day. Set down some compulsory ‘Paper Perusal’ time and find out what’s going on together. A great time to do this is when you are getting dinner ready. Have your son read the headlines for you and then decided which article you’d like to hear in full.
If reading aloud is too intimidating for him, have him read it to himself and summarise it for you. This is a great way to test his comprehension on the quiet as you ask him other questions about what the story.
An alternative to this is allowing him to go online and visit one of the large news websites like the NZ Herald, print out a story that interests him and do the same. (This one will mean there’s no need to bring a paper home).