It seems that reading isn’t something that is as popular as it used to be. Whereas a few years ago children would have picked up a book if they were bored, now they are quite wrapped up in tablets and iPhones. This is no surprise when you take a look at the apps and games that are out there and how much more appealing they are then a standard old book.
With this in mind, you may be surprised to learn that children’s books are still a top choice, in fact, their sales rose by 16% over the past year (statistics from the Publishers Association).
That said, encouraging your children to read isn’t always easy, particularly if they are boys. Boys are harder to get into reading, this is due to a number of reasons. However, there are a number of approaches that you can try out to see if you can make reading seem all the more appealing to your little man.
1. Set an example
When it comes to role models for boys, they often come in the form of footballers, firemen and policemen. The type of person who takes action, who is out there doing something. They are not people who are known for being great thinkers or active readers. This means that you need to take it upon yourself to be their reading hero. Children often take up the hobbies and interest of their parents, which means that setting an example of enjoying reading and actively discussing it with your son, is a great way to encourage him to try it out for yourself.
2. Know that they are going to be distracted
Boys are much more easily distracted than girls are. This means that they are going to find it harder to sit still and concentrate on reading a book, particularly for an extended period of time. Rather than feeling frustrated that they are not showing the same interest as the girls in your family, which can make it unpleasant for you both, just accept it. Try to find ways to keep his attention on the book, perhaps by encouraging silly faces or pointing out words, as this will be much more likely to keep him engaged in the story.
3. Encourage independent reading
It is no secret that boys like to feel that they are independent and that they are older than their age. This means that they may react better if they feel that they are being trusted to read to themselves, rather than you reading to them. It is important to only start this when your son is ready and keep books slightly below their guided reading level, as this will minimise the risk that he won’t understand the words that he is reading or the story as a whole.
4. Choose books that are going to interest them
Have you ever had to try and read a book that simply doesn’t interest you? It isn’t easy, even for us adults. Imagine what it is like for a child. A simple way to encourage them to not only read, but enjoy it too, is to select books that are centred around things that interest them. Of course, there are going to be times that they will have to read books that they might not particularly like, so for the rest of the time there is no harm choosing those that will.
5. Reward positive behaviours
As parents of both boys and girls, it is key to encourage and reward positive behaviours, rather than then the negative ones. Not only does this apply to a variety of aspects through life, but can also help with reading too. If you find that your son is reading every night, without fuss, then this is something that you need to encourage and reward. This is a much better approach than becoming angry and telling them off for not reading for one day.
Reading with your child in itself should be seen as a reward. Sit down with them on the sofa, cuddle up in bed, make sure that you and them look forward to reading each and every night and it is something that they will want to do more and more of!
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