Nurturing the Reader in Our Sons
Read to him early and often
The landmark report, Building A Nation of Readers, states that the simplest activity we can do with our boys is reading aloud to them. This activity is identified as being the single most important one for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading. Whatever you choose to read with your boy, have regular times set aside daily, or nearly every day. Let him act out his favorite characters to burn off energy. Picture books are great at this age but don’t forget to point out words on signs, cereal boxes and scooters to send the early message that reading has to do with life. Use “how-to” books to improve his budding soccer game. Take advantage of those times when he’s tuckered out to whip out a short book and read him to sleep. Every time you do that, a mental and emotional connection is made between the sound of your voice, a story, and a sense of warmth and security.
Create a rich literacy environment
Make sure he has a variety of written text readily available to him, and specific times during which reading is a preferred activity.
How can we expect our boys to be readers if all we have around the house is “stuff” he finds boring? There is competition out there between computer games, TV and the Internet. How can we expect him to choose to read once he’s beyond the “snuggle and cuddle stage,” if by then it hasn’t become a familiar and meaningful experience?
Washington DC author, Elizabeth Drew, says, “The true test of literature is, I suppose, whether we live more intensely for the reading of it.” As parents of boys, we must make sure we help our sons view reading as the tremendous tool it is and feed the idea that reading has direct personal significance to them. Then they will choose to be readers and live more successful, fulfilling lives because of it.
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