How To Get Year-Old Son to Read Something: 13 Tips for Frustrated Parents

How To Get Year-Old Son to Read Something: 13 Tips for Frustrated Parents

Is getting your 10 year-old son to read an exercise in futility? Is he a good reader but he refuses to read unless forced into it? You’re not alone.

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Boys historically trail behind girls in literacy, reading comprehension, and enjoyment of reading. As the Brookings Institute reports:

Among younger children — age nine to ten, or about fourth grade — girls consistently outscore boys on international assessments, from a pioneering study of reading comprehension conducted in fifteen countries in the 1970s, to the results of the Program in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) conducted in forty-nine nations and nine benchmarking entities in 2011. The same is true for students in high school. On the 2012 reading literacy test of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), worldwide gender gaps are evident between fifteen-year-old males and females

How do you get your 10-year old son to read? Here are 13 tips:

1. Read to him: Reading to your children can improve their reading skills and teaches them to be lifelong learners. As Reading is Fundamental explains, “Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word…Even after children learn to read by themselves, it’s still important for you to read aloud together. By reading stories that are on their interest level, but beyond their reading level, you can stretch young readers’ understanding and motivate them to improve their skills.”

2. Take turns reading: As your son starts reading on his own, take turns reading from books that interest him but are above his reading level. This will keep him engaged and encouraged to improve his own reading skills.

3. Talk about what you’re reading: Talking about what you read with your son can improve retention and help keep him engaged. If reading is a chore to be done, it will quickly be forgotten; if it’s an interesting topic that you explore further through reading, he’ll likely return to the book and topic to learn more.

4. Read what’s in front of you: Reading shouldn’t be limited to books. You can practice reading with your son just about anywhere. For example, he can read signs and billboards, food products, toy packaging, game descriptions, sports statistics, etc.

5. Model reading for your son: Many boys don’t see the men around them reading. Model reading enjoyable pastime rather than a chore. If your son sees the adults in his life — especially the men — reading for pleasure, he’s likely to do the same.

6. Dig into his favorite authors: If you son really likes one particular author, dig in and see what else you can find out about the author. Look for other books they’ve written, but also follow them on social media, find videos of them talking about their books and characters, and see if they’re doing any online or in-person events your son might be interested in.

7. Spend time in libraries: Yes, libraries are places to borrow books, but they are now so much more than that. Many libraries have full programming schedules catering to young people. They have maker events, they have reading challenges, they have digital media classes, and more. The more time your son spends in and around libraries, the more likely he is to view reading, and learning, in general, as part of everyday life.

8. Give him screen time, in moderation: If your son is reluctant to read books, but enjoys spending time with a tablet or computer, give him screen time to work on projects that require some reading, in moderation. If he associates reading with a game or activity he loves, it may lower his resistance to books. And, if you can find books related to the digital projects he enjoys, even better.

9. Provide easy access to books: Make sure your son can easily access books. Bring them into the home and put books he enjoys in the car and in your own bag so he can read in those in-between moments when you find yourself waiting with time to spare.

10. Find a series he likes: If your son finds a book series he really enjoys, he’s likely to read everything available in the series. Keep your eye out for authors that have several books that follow a storyline or characters.

11. Let your son choose his reading material: The classic example of this is Captain Underpants — you may not love it, but your son just might. This extends to other areas, as well. If your son is interested in monster trucks, find him some monster truck books; if he’s interested in fashion, find him some fashion books or magazines; if he’s interested in snakes, scare up some snake books. At this point, it doesn’t matter what he’s reading, as long as he’s reading.

12. Go beyond traditional books: Don’t limit your idea of reading to books. Your son may be more interested in graphic novels and comic books, sports magazines, activity books or video game brochures. Give him access to whatever medium will get him reading.

13. Make choosing books an event: As any book lover knows, choosing a new book to read is a joy. Instill this in your son by turning book choosing and reading into an event. Whether you’re going to the library or a bookstore, pair the outing with a trip to the park to read, a picnic lunch or ice cream. By doing so you’ll create positive associations with reading and books.