Suggestions For Getting Your Sons and Daughters Reading
“If you can’t play sports or video games or hang out with your friends or watch TV, I guess it’s okay.” A preteen boy, asked what he thinks about reading.
We all know kids spend more and more time in front of the television, video game console, computer, or smart phone instead of picking up a book. Several recent articles, blog posts, and research findings indicate that boys are reading less and less and it’s showing in lower and lower test scores. For almost 20 years now, boys have been underperforming girls on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (The Nation’s Report Card).
Rather than a few more scary statistics or some dismal data, how some suggestions for getting your sons (and daughters!) up and reading this summer?
For little ones (under 7):
Read aloud to your students every day. Yep – every. day. Let students pick out the texts, surprise students with a new text, reread old favorites. Just be sure to read every day.
Make sure your students have a library card, and make the library a special trip (ideally each week, but once every two or three weeks is also better than not at all!). Most libraries have no lower age limit. At some libraries, students need to be able to write their name, but most places all they need is an adult with them.
As always, get caught reading, too. Little ones want to be like Mom and Dad – and if Mom and Dad are reading in their free time (… I know, free time might be stretch), kids will choose to read in their free time, too.
For bigger ones (8 & up)
My sister had mandatory Black Outs during summer vacation for her two kids—books were really the only option between 12 and 2, M-F. As young adults now (early 20’s), both my niece and my nephew choose to read for pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with asking kids to unplug each day.
There are plenty of online resources for finding books and engaging with others about books. One of my favorite websites is www.guysread.com . The purpose of the site is to get boys reading (last month’s Book of the Month pick was a new series based off of a very popular video game). The website has tons of reading lists, including lists based on interests or lists written by male authors, illustrators, librarians, and cartoonists.
Everyone loves choice. Research shows us that boys are more likely to read if they can choose what they’re reading. Maybe vampires who go fishing for zombies while driving Monster trucks isn’t your cup of tea—but if the young guy in your life wants to read it, I say, “Read on!”