Thursday, March 08, 2007

Start boys reading early

This is my son, Jim, when he was much younger. I use it to illustrate a point. Boys, even if they don’t like to read, WILL read what interests them. In Jim’s case, from the day he was born, was attracted to sports. I used to joke that he was never without a ball, from some sport, in his hand. Here, his grandfather snapped a picture of him reading the sports page.

If you have children in your life, who aren’t particularly interested in reading, make sure to experiment. Once you find something they like, feed that with as much material as possible.

Some parents have discovered that it works well to read out loud to their young children first. I’d suggest that you go to the library and bring home a carload of different books. Soon you’ll have two stacks. One stack will represent material that he / she hates, while the other pile will help you to turn on the light switch of reading in your child.

Often times you’ll find that your child is happy to take over reading, once their interests have been identified.

In order to help that along, I end most of my chapters with a cliffhanger. Readers, young and old, tell me that they find it difficult to put my books down for that very reason. And I’ve heard from many parents of reluctant boy readers. My books have turned on that switch.

Many are shocked to learn that, though I’ve written dozens of action-adventure and mystery manuscripts, I grew up hating to read. It wasn’t until my college years that I discovered a love for psychology. That’s when my reading kicked into high gear as I devoured everything in my major.

Today, Jim is an attorney in Chicago. Probably his favorite TV show is Sports Center. Yet, because of an early interest in reading, he’s grown into a voracious reader. This illustrates another point. You may be an avid reader, yet you find that your son has no interest. He may never rise to the level of your reading, but you can help to build a foundation early in his development.

So, if you go out there and find something your child is interested in, I believe he’ll begin reading too.

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