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I think the easiest way to get children to enjoy reading is to start reading to them when they are very young, as soon as they can sit up and enjoy looking at pictures. Make 'story time" a part of the day's activities. As they get older, take them to the library and find books on subjects they enjoy. Also, let them see that Mom and Dad enjoy reading too, even if it means turning off the TV for a while. Encouraging a love of reading is one of the most important things you can do for your child.
By Joan from Chesterfield, MI
I completely agree - I started reading to my daughters before they could sit up! If you don't believe how great the benefits are or would like to feel really good about reading to children, check out this book:
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
It provides a list of great books to read out loud to kids with the best ages for each book and a wealth of information about how much better kids will do in math and other seemingly non-related subjects thanks to solid reading skills.
I feel like it is my duty to use our public library. Each time the tax statement comes and it shows the line item of what I'm paying to support my library, it tells me that I need to check out at least the value worth of books. Our library has provided hours of entertainment through its story hours and special events outside of the actual books we check out each week. I love the library!
Make a Bookworm Reader Chart to encourage your child to read more books and be creative when coloring his own piece of artwork - Bookworm!
Draw a large caterpillar "Bookworm" on a sheet of white paper. Make several copies. With every book that your child reads, they are allowed to color in one of the sections of the bookworm with a bright color of their choice. Keep bookworm on the fridge or favourite message board. When all is completed and "colorful", you can reward your child with a special treat. For example; going to the book store to buy a new book or something as simple as being treated to an ice cream cone. If you can't afford new books, go to the library, your child can get his/her own library card or visit a thrift store for used books.
Your child can keep each bookworm, name it and put the title of the book on the paper too, then insert into a folder or binder and keep them all. Have your child give out Bookworms to friends and start a Bookworm Club!
By linn from Canada
Here is a picture of Bookworm Chart
You as a parent/guardian are most important to the equation. Your time and interest will spark your child's.
First, lead by example. Let your children see you reading the newspaper or magazines. Occasionally read something age-appropriate and of interest out-loud to the family. Turn off (or not turn on) the television to curl up with a good book. Discuss books with friends. And refer to books for information rather than going to the computer all of the time.
Second, read the same book as your child(ren) so that you can discuss it with them. Play 'games' like guessing the ending ahead of time, or what will happen next, or what would have happened if.
Third, have your child 'help' you by reading a recipe out-loud step by step as you make a treat for the family. Or read craft instructions and then do the craft together. Give your child a short written list of groceries to get for you while shopping (be specific as to brand or add info like label color, etc). This usually works well with canned vegetables or soups.
Make reading fun and not a chore. Never criticize a child's choice of reading materials (unless they are very inappropriate). I had one child that hated reading any type of fiction until around 4th grade, but he devoured non-fiction material- how to, animal life, science, biography, space, etc. Then he went into a total fantasy phase. It keeps evolving but now he will read almost anything. My daughter loved "Junie B. Jones" books (while I disliked them because of the vernacular spelling and grammar), but she outgrew them in time. Both of my children now read several 'grades' above their current level and like to visit the library for new material regularly. It is never too early or too late to start.
By Melodyy from Oak Ridge, TN
This is excellent advice, which I lived as my children grew. They rarely saw me without a book handy. I'm happy to say at least my older daughter is carrying on the tradition, albeit with a Kindle rather than traditional books.
When I was a tutor, I coaxed reluctant readers with reading material keyed to their interests. A teen girl might like a fan magazine or the entertainment section of the newspaper. A boy might like Sports Illustrated or the newspaper sports page.
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Any additional suggestions on how to get a middle school/junior high boy to read? I am concerned about my grandson. I know my daughter would be interested in her son's academic improvement. I agree with the person in the preceding advice; reading being key to their success. Just thought I would ask before he gets any older or more involved with peers.
By Mary from Colorado Springs, CO
Part of your success will be to know what his interests are. Or even better... his passion. Once you know that, you get him a book he just has to read because it fits his passion. Instead of a book it could be a magazine subscription. That way he is "attempting" to read every time he gets an issue.
Finding the right books is important at that age. The child needs to feel some ownership over the books. Finding books that fit a child's interest is key. Taking him to a book store to get a book as a treat might help. Then he gets to pick something out. Finding a series, like Harry Potter, or Percy Jackson, or something else, can be great at that age. Setting aside time to read is also important and reading by example is important. Don't just set aside for the boy to read, read yourself as well.
You have not said if your grandson is a good reader or not. If he is a capable reader, and simply chooses not to, there is not much to worry about. In this case it is simply trying to find something that he likes or interested in. Many boys are more interested in non-fiction books such as info about dinosaurs or cars or bridge building or whatever, or some prefer stories about real, true events rather than fiction.
On the other hand, many non-readers are poor readers, and if this is the case, you should investigate ways to help him improve his reading skills. This is a much bigger problem, and your first action would be to talk to his teachers. However, some special programs and private tutoring might be in order.