Families are bombarded with messages about the importance of reading for their children. For good reason: - the benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented.
The following strategies are offered to you to help you support your son with reading:
Don’t say, “If you spend 30 minutes reading, you’ll get to play on the PlayStation/ go on the computer/ be paid a dollar.” Instead, treat reading as its own reward — a privilege, even.
Make this question a big part of your life. When you’re with your child and a friend, ask what the friend reads, and start a conversation. Your child may want to read what friends are enthusiastic about.
Tip: Ask other parents what their children are reading, and offer to swap books.
Even a devoted anti-clutter person should make an exception for books. Create impromptu reading opportunities for your child by leaving books in places where they may be picked up in an idle moment. Discovered on a coffee table, a great photography book or a book about lizards may occupy children for long stretches.
Don’t denigrate your child’s interest in this genre. Many of the most celebrated literary figures of our time not only grew up devouring comics, but also incorporate comics-inspired themes into their prize-winning novels: Michael Chabon, Junot Díaz and Jonathan Lethem, to name a few. Many children become avid readers through their love of comics. You may have even loved reading Archie, Smurfs or Superman before going on to read Gabriel García Márquez.
Reading together — separately — is a wonderful way to spend time in each other’s company.
Try it: Instead of organising family leisure time around TV, movies or video games, schedule a regular family reading time. As your children begin to choose their own books and read independently, they may be less inclined to talk to you about what they’re reading. But if they are reading right next to you, you’ll hear them laugh, exclaim or give some other response, which gives you an opening to conversation.
Plenty of reluctant readers are fans of popular computer and video games. Many of these games have book counterparts, which can be a great way to steer your child toward the pleasures of text. There are lots of books featuring Minecraft, Pokémon, Plants vs. Zombies, and the like. From there, you can expand your child’s repertory to graphic novels and comics, and then full-text books.
Some reluctant readers are fact-gatherers, who may be more inspired by reading nonfiction. If it’s presented in a highly visual format, all the better for conveying even more kinds of information. Look for books about presidents, states, ancient history, the solar system, animals, natural disasters, and other topics they’re interested in.
A movie adaptation of a novel your child loves is a great way to re-engage with the book, opening a conversation about how a story can be told in different ways. Encourage your child to read the book before the movie adaptation hits the screen. Consider establishing a family rule: No one watches the film until everyone has read the book.
Children love collecting. Make your child’s book collection a point of personal pride and identity. Every child should have a special bookcase. Plan for long-term storage for the best of this collection. When your children reach adulthood and discover that you still have the books that meant so much to them in childhood, they (and you!) will appreciate it.
Make regular trips to the library (even better as a family) to keep a constant stream of new and intriguing books around the house.
Many local libraries no longer have limits on the number of books you can take out at one time. And keeping a constantly rotating menu of books on hand exposes children to a variety of subjects, formats and genres, piquing their curiosity.
Let your children become members as soon as they are old enough. A child’s first library card is a rite of passage, often the very first official membership card in a young life.
Teach your children that library membership is a privilege and a responsibility. Most children really treasure their library cards, for good reason. It’s not just a ticket to great books, it’s a milestone.
We are fortunate to have many reading resources available through the College’s Learning Centres:
To access the digital resources, students should locate the Learning Centres subheading under School Links on SIMON.
We encourage you to assist your son in establishing a regular and consistent reading routine at home.