Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dads, Boys and Books

With boys lagging behind girls in reading, it is more important than ever to give boys a role model for reading. The most important role model in a boy's life is a good father. When a boy sees his dad reading, he is not afraid to follow the example. I don't advocate a father reading with his son in lieu of his mother, but in addition to. Setting aside story time on a nightly basis helps form strong family bonds between children and both parents as well as promotes literacy.

In our home, my husband chose more actively engaging books like Where the Wild Things Are than I did. I usually chose the sweet books like Guess How Much I Love You. This meant that our boys thought Dad was more fun than Mom. The boys loved it when their dad would make the roar of a dinosaur or shout of a monster. Somehow Dad's voice was scarier than Mom's.

Some of my suggestions for reading.

1. Start early - Even when your babies are brand new, they are soothed by the sound of your voice. This is a great time to read short books like Goodnight Moon.
2. Set aside reading time every day. Right before bedtime is a good time.
3. As your children grow, let them help pick out books.
4. Make trips to the library together.
5. Give books as gifts to your children and keep a lot of books around the house.
6. As your children grow, choose books that will grow with them. Read a chapter a night.
7. Keep reading to your son, even when he can read alone.
8. As your child learns to read, take turns reading with him read.
9. Challenge your son by reading up, that is reading books above their reading ability. They will still comprehend and it helps them learn new vocabulary.
10. When your child no longer wants you to read with him, "share" books with him. That is, make sure you read the books your child reads.
11. Ask your child how he liked a book you both read.
12. Make sure you always let your son see you reading whether it be a book, magazine or newspaper.

I loved it when my husband brought home books by Orson Scott Card. When he was done reading one of the books of the series, he gave it to my teenage son to read it. When my son was finished, they would talk about the book. Since we don't usually get two words out of my teenage son, whole sentences about how good the books were was quite an accomplishment.

A child's academic success directly correlates with how well they can read. In raising a reader, you breed success.


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