Getting your son to read is often an uphill battle due to the fact that most boys have a natural disposition for supposedly more “exciting” things to do, such as computer games and sports, which they would rather do than curl up with a good book. However, the reading habit is never too late to cultivate and will bring about many life-long benefits.
The Importance of Reading
Reading books will help develop vital language skills that are transferable to all areas in life. In this world, the ability to read is practically necessary to survive, not to mention, a way to stay connected to the world through print media and resources. Reading will reinforce grammar techniques and help build up a sizeable vocabulary, so that the reader will eventually develop a proficiency in the language, as well as improve upon writing skills. In addition, reading sets the stage for a creative and innovative mind, an essential skill needed to succeed in this upcoming knowledge-based economy. This will prepare your child for future challenges when he enters the working world. While it has been mentioned above that it is never too late to begin reading, the younger you start your son on a reading habit, the better it is, as at the younger ages, children are constantly processing information and are very receptive to new and interesting input.
What Can You Do?
If your child is a toddler, you might want to introduce the concept of books to him. Boys at this age are usually fussy and restless, so it is better not to force the reading habit on him. Doing so may be counter-productive and kill his interest in books, which is the last thing you want to happen. Instead, head down to your local library and get a variety of colourful picture-books. Let him choose which books he is interested in. At this age, he may not necessarily know how to read, but the next best thing you can do is to read aloud to him. This will let him get a feel for the sound of the words, hastening the learning process.
Boys from 5-7 years of age can usually read large-print books with simple words. Now, you can start bringing your son to the bookshop or library to choose books that you can read together, which will also help to form a good relationship between you and your son. At this stage, allocating a book fund of about 15 to 20 dollars for your son to purchase books is a good way to spark an interest in reading. It can give your son a feeling of new found responsibility in selecting what he wants to read.
At the age of 8-14 years old, boys are usually getting more involved in other external activities, for example, sports and school activities. It is thus, important to reinforce the reading habit so that it does not get “forgotten” amongst the barrage of activities that your son will probably participate in. This can be encouraged through a reward system where you and your son can set a goal to read one book a week. At the end of the week, your son can have the option to write a book review or give a presentation. Points can be awarded accordingly to how well the review was written or whether the presentation was cohesive and expressive. After accumulating a preset number of points, prizes can be awarded. For example, your son can “save up” 150 points for that watch he always wanted. This provides an incentive to read and the regularity will form the basis of a life-long habit.
Lastly, always keep a dictionary handy. Should your son come across an unfamiliar word, he can always look up the dictionary for its meaning and pronunciation, adding to his repertoire of vocabulary. Nowadays, this process is even more convenient with the advent of websites such as www.dictionary.com, which makes it much easier to look up a word. One simply has to type the word in the search engine and in an instant, the meaning and its uses will be made available to you.
All in all, it takes time and effort on the part of parents to nurture such a reading habit. If you’re willing to put in the necessary elements, your son will most definitely develop an affinity for reading, improving his life in countless ways. Of course, one has to set a good example. So if you haven’t, start reading and embark on a wonderful literary journey with your child today.