Several years ago, I was sitting down with my son for parent teacher conference. The teacher asked him how many times a week he read the newspaper. His reply was, "Never."
My jaw dropped. I knew that wasn't true. He read the paper nearly every day. I finally interrupted and said, "Let's rephrase the questions. How many times a week do you read the comics."
"Almost everyday," came my son's reply.
My son read the comics almost everyday in the newspaper and somehow he had been led to believe that wasn't reading the newspaper. That was a sad commentary for me. For I had already come to accept that anything my son read was helping him develop better reading and learning skills. Somehow that message had been lost. Why is it that we look differently on the comics, a comic book or even a sports magazine than we look on a book of classic literature. Sure, I want my sons to read high quality books and sometimes they do. But, I would much rather have them read something than nothing at all.
Scholastic's 2010 Kid and Family Reading Report, points out that boys read 23% less outside of school than girls do. It is no secret that boys now lag behind girls in education. While I applaud the opportunities that have opened up for my daughter, I am saddened that my boys will have to fight harder to keep up. However, I was encouraged by some other statistics in Scholastic's report. Nine out of 10 kids say they are more likely to finish a book they choose themselves and half of all children say they read for fun. Also, the report mentions the one thing I always felt strongly about. Mothers are the ones that influence their children the most while teachers and librarians also have some influence.
With all of the studies that point to boys lagging behind in reading and education, I want to applaud the idea of reading. Don't be stressed about what your boys read, stress what that they read. If you son reads the comics, so what? At least he's reading. I am willing to do whatever I need to do to foster that. In fact, Scholastic's report mentioned that a third of children over the age of 9 reported they would read more books if they had a digital device. It may be time for me to look at getting digital devices for my sons. I know I love mine so why wouldn't they?
On a final note, I can't stress how important it is for boys to have a positive male role model. My sons see their father reading. They see the books on their dad's nightstand. My 17 year old even borrows his dad's books. It gives them something to talk about. I love it when I recommend a book and my son reads it and likes it. I might get a full sentence out of him the day I ask about it instead of a grunt.