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
Good advice. I grew up in a very small town in Louisiana. My earliest memories are of my brother, my sister, and me walking to the Library every Saturday. I couldn't even read yet but my brother always helped me pick out books and then he would read them to me. I am now in my early 60s and I still love to read. Along with taking care of house, hubby, and full time job I still manage to read about three or four books a week. And, no, I don't do "speed reading" and I retain what I read.
Margaret from Denton, Texas
When our children were young, we left a book in the car. Each time we went anywhere, they took turns reading. A few years ago, our son went on a trip with us. He brought a book and we all took a turn reading (except the driver!) We still pass books around and all enjoy reading.
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!
You as a parent/guardian are most important to the equation. Your time and interest will spark your child's.
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.
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.