Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday - Getting Boys to Read

My firstborn - a girl - had no problem learning to read, she was actually one of those kids that basically taught herself to read before she was four.

When it came to teaching my son to read - I wasn't so sure how I was going to do it. He enjoyed having books read to him - but he was five and was showing no indications that he was gonna learn to do to it on his own.

I began teaching him out of the book "How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" - and it really worked. But as we neared the end of the book - I was tired of the lame stories, and wanted to move on to some "real" books for my ds to practice reading on.

I have found that boys are more "obsessive" than girls are. They focus in on something they like and that's all they can think about and all they want to play with or learn about or be around...whether it's "baseball", "big machines", "cars" or as in our case, "frontier living/army/weapons/Davy Crockett/Daniel Boone".

How do you get boys to want to read - especially at the beginning? Don't make them read the old school readers with stories like "See Jane run." "See the cat." You know the story. Maybe a little girl would enjoy the pictures and the relationship between Jane and the cute, soft, furry animals - but if your son is obsessed with "big machines" - that book isn't going to give him any encouragement to keep on learning those words.

Do what you can to find easy readers in your boy's favorite subject. If you can't because he happens to be obsessed with something children's books are not normally written about - let's say vacuum cleaners - than make your own book! It's simple. Cut out pictures of said obsession, glue then on a page and begin writing (or typing) out your story. It's a little extra work - but a happy boy that is BEGGING for a reading lesson - is your reward.

I wrote earlier this week about the Dan Frontier books that my son loves so much. They are not cheap b/c I have to find them on places like eBay - but it's been worth it. My son reminds me when we have gone too long without a reading lesson, even asking for a lesson on Saturday - and if the story is pretty riveting (in his eyes) - he doesn't want to stop reading too soon!

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips - visit Rocks in My Dryer.


Mrs. Mordecai said...

This is such a good idea! I had an English teacher in junior high who was convinced that everyone loved to read: just that some people hadn't found the right books yet. I agree. I'm in the process of eliminating all the books we don't enjoy right now. There are a lot of really badly written children's books out there! My son prefers Dr. Seuss to inane doggerel written to match the pictures.

fullheartandhands mama said...

Thanks for this idea. I can already tell that my children will learn quite differently. During my teaching days I was an advocate of encouraging children to read what they wanted (within reason of course) and enjoy it.

Liza's Eyeview said...

helpful and informative. thanks :)

My Ice Cream Diary said...

You are so right and I wish I had learned this a lot sooner. I buy my son Calvin and Hobbs comic books because he will read those for hours on end (and yes, I make sure he is reading, not just looking at pictures). My other son HATES reading stories but like reading single words (which is fine for his age) so I have him read my grocery lists to me and I write up word lists for him to read to me as well and he loves it. He will often come up to me with papaer and pen to ask for a list.