Guest Post by Michael Gurian
Whether your son is a reluctant reader or already loves reading, try these literacy boosters anywhere, anytime.
- Start Early in Life. Read to your son 30 minutes a day while he is in the womb, and when he is an infant and a toddler. When he is able to read, have him read aloud to you. The more words he hears and reads, the better for his brain.
- Make Daily Activities into Reading Activities. Have your son read billboards aloud as you drive to school each day. Have him read game instructions or the back of the DVD case aloud on family night.
- Make Literacy a Family Affair. Keep books and magazines like Boys’ Life available on counters, tables, and in your son’s room. The more he sees books and magazines around, the more likely he is to read them. Make sure older siblings pass down books and magazines they liked to read at this age.
- Increase Physical Movement. For most boys, physical movement can activate brain centers useful to reading comprehension and enjoyment. Let your son read while pacing, or let him squeeze or toss a ball while reading.
- Make Reading Cool. If your son sees reading as “not something boys do,” find role models among family members, celebrities, and athletes who promote reading and can help make it cool by example.
- Use Social Media. Encourage your son to write emails to family members who live far away.
- Volunteer as a Reading Buddy at School. Especially in your son’s younger years, become a reading buddy in his classroom. Donate books to the class, especially ones that boys will love to read and that have lots of pictures. As boys get older, they will like stories with adventure.
- Let Him Read What He Loves. Graphic novels, comic books, magazines about sports or other vocations—all of these are reading. While guiding your son to read larger works, you can appreciate the reading he does in these less complex forms.
- New Words Every Day. For a month or more, learn a new word each day with your son. The word can come from a book or from an object in your home or neighborhood. Create at least one opportunity every day (perhaps on the drive home from school) to repeat together the new word and have fun using it in a sentence.
- Help Him With Homework. Especially in language arts and other literacy-oriented classes, parents need to be homework buddies well into middle school, providing supervision, inspiration, and motivation. Taking time to go through assignments and lessons with your son can help ensure that he reads and writes—and succeeds—more. You can assess your child’s literacy needs by taking a short quiz from the Gurian Institute. http://www.gurianinstitute.com/literacy-survey-for-boys/
Boys’ Life magazine is written for them and can assist a boy’s literacy level and encourage a love of reading. To review sample articles that would interest your child, visit http://boyslife.org/literacy.
Copyright 2013 Michael Gurian