Thursday, August 19, 2010

Keeping kids reading

My son reads a lot.

Erm... well, he used to.

It appears that I've been resting on some laurels that have deserted me while I was looking the other way. (To use an overly complicated metaphor.)

Over the summer, I started to notice that my son has been playing more video games and going to bed later and reading less and less.

What got me thinking about it was a book I picked up recently that had a chapter entitled, "Good readers: How to keep your child reading."

I realized that I have been assuming that once he became a good reader, my son would always turn to books. And now I think that isn't necessarily the case. The bond between a boy and his books might actually be more tenuous than I thought.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that lately video games, baseball and TV have been winning - and books are going unread. Like, for weeks.

So here's what I did. First of all, I started reinforcing a more normal bedtime. I told my son when he has to be "in bed," and when he has to be "asleep." There's a half-hour difference in those times - and that's for reading. So he goes to bed before he's completely exhausted and then he gets half an hour to read.

Next, I asked him why he's not enjoying reading. It turns out he been waiting for the next book in the series he's working on (Macdonald Hall by Gordon Korman). It was sold out at our local bookstore and no one had gotten it for him for his birthday. So he's been waiting.

We could have ordered it online, but when you only buy one book you have to pay shipping, so we tracked it down and then went really, really far to a bookstore that had it. And we bought it for him. All of that seemed a bit crazy at the time, but it paid off: he started reading the book in the car on the way home. Sha-zam!

The third thing I did was start reading to him at bedtime again. As he'd begun reading more and more by himself, I realized I'd been reading to him less and less frequently. My husband bought another book by Gordon Korman (Who is Bugs Potter?), and I started reading that to my son out loud - while he was in the bath. I took advantage of a captive audience, I admit it - but again, it worked. Who is Bugs Potter? is a pretty awesome book. (I'll blog about it soon.)

It piqued his interest and now I'm happy to report that my son is reading again. A lot.

I figure we're good until he runs out of the Macdonald Hall books and finishes Bugs Potter. So Rick Riordan, if you're reading this, could you please hurry up and finish the next book in the Kane Series? Type, darn you! Type!

I've got tons of stuff I want to blog about in the upcoming weeks... great books. A few products I've ordered from Hasbro that look like they'd be great at promoting literacy. Some research I've been reading up on. The results from that study we all took part in. And I'm hoping for a few more articles by Julia. So stay tuned!

2 comments:

The Book Chook said...

This is such an important point, I agree. We do tend to think because a kid is a good reader he will also be an avid reader. And always be an avid reader. Yet my own son went through ups and downs with reading that continually surprised me.

PS Yes, I am a tad behind with my blog reading - August was quite a while ago. Happy Thanksgiving!

Joyce Grant said...

LOL - you're a tad behind in your holidays, too. Thanksgiving was weeks ago! (Well, here in Canada anyway...)

Thanks for posting, though, whenever it happens!

-J.