Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Why won't my son read to me?

My husband and I are avid readers. We both always have been and always will be.

We have read to both our boys since they were old enough to listen. We gave them picture books made of thick cardboard, explaining pictures and words. They both had plastic bath books to read, suck on and chew on as they felt like in the bath. Both boys were encouraged with role playing about the books that we were reading to them, using teddy bears and other soft toys to represent characters in the book. Both boys had several books read to them in bed each evening before going to sleep. Even when they were reading books themselves we used to read to them.

Reading is great if someone else is doing it.

As our oldest started school he discovered that reading was fun. For a while. Then he stopped wanting to read aloud to us. According to him he loved us reading to him, but wasn't so keen to read back to us. So through the first few years of school we tried so many different techniques. I must admit we even resorted to bribing him. Of course that didn't work. 

As parents we worried that we hadn't been a good enough role model for reading. So we made time each evening to sit with him and just read. He could read quietly with us. Of course we were worried that he wasn't reading correctly because we couldn't hear him pronouncing the words. So we went to see his teacher. Encouraged that he was reading aloud at school, and doing very well at it we stopped worrying quite so much. 

Then came the note home from the teacher in year 2. This note asked if we could come and see her about reading issues our boy was having. Ah ha we thought. That's it. He must be having been struggling with reading and feeling embarrassed when reading out to us. According to the teacher our boy just seemed to be having reading. No explanation as to why. Helpful. Nope!. So we got his eyes checked, maybe he was having trouble with his eyes. 

We bought books. Books about dinosaurs, books on planes and even books about soccer. None of these seemed to do the trick. During his primary years he read what he had needed to for school and not much more really. Then one day we walked into his room and he was sitting on the bed reading a book to his little brother. Hallelujah! I quickly rushed back with the camera and took a photo. (See below...)

My oldest reading to his little brother.
When I asked him why he was reading to his brother he told me that reading is important so his little brother needed to know this.
So maybe we hadn't wasted our time. 
I remember always reading to my little brother.
Interesting enough was the fact that in high school he started reading books cover to cover all by himself. Books of his choice, still they were real books with real words and very few pictures.
For his 21st Birthday his little brother gave him the entire series of Game of Thrones books. Interesting how things change with age.

Should we have worried? 
“Worried Word Displays Afraid Troubled Or Concerned” by Stuart Miles

According to the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood 'Reading to children at age 4-5 every day has a significant positive effect on their reading skills and cognitive skills (i.e., language and literacy, numeracy and cognition) later in life.' This information comes from a research paper by the University of Melbourne. If you want to read this Click Here.

There is an organisational website called RIF (Reading is Fundamental) and on this site is an article about kids who can read but simply don't.  In this article it lists Why some kids don't like to read and What won't work when encouraging them. Most parents of kids that don't read probably try a number of different methods for getting their kids to read. If you are interested Click Here to read the article. 

There is also a list of 20 ways to encourage kids to read. I think over time my husband and I tried all of these. 

In the end he reads. Did he go to University? No. He did end up being a fully qualified trades person who topped his year in study and is now considering putting himself through Uni in a few years time with his trade to help him. 

My thoughts are that at the time the worry was worth is. In the end everything we did seemed to work, it just took it's time. 

Reading to a dog?

This is an interesting idea starting up in schools in Tasmania Australia. School children are reading to dogs instead of adults or other children and it seems to be taking away some of their fears of reading aloud.

Just a note that our youngest is an avid reader. So we are at least a little more worry free this time around. Phew!

“School Boy” by digitalart

What books are a favourite with your children?

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