How to Encourage Your Son to Read
1. Let your son see you reading—books, newspapers, or magazines. Make reading part of your household. Read aloud to him and encourage him to read to you.
2. Leave books lying around the house. Buy some books that are likely to appeal to your son, or get a stack for free at your public library.
3. For those boys who fear being teased, reading may be essentially private. Respect that he may not want to talk about everything he reads or be praised for reading (depending, of course, on the child).
Subscribe to a magazine that might interest him.
4. Encourage relatives and family friends whom your son loves and admires to give books as presents. When giving him presents you might combine a book with another interest, such as a soccer ball and a soccer book.
5. Let your child make choices at the library or bookstore, and don’t criticize his interests. Let him pick books that are too easy but may be comforting, or books that are too hard but have interesting pictures or photographs. It’s also important to let him explore various topics, even if they don’t fit stereotypical male interests, without being teased.
6. Recognize that reading about information is as legitimate as reading novels. Acknowledge this fact to your son when he follows written instructions for a hobby or reads the sports pages.
7. Some children love acquiring facts or trivia, and especially enjoy the Guinness Book of World Records, the World Almanac, or sports almanacs, just for the fun of browsing through them.
8. If he is interested in a particular sport, seek out fiction or informational books about that sport, or a biography of a famous athlete.
9. Try reading nonfiction aloud, especially on a topic your child cannot yet read about alone but about which he wants to know more.
10. Choose a book together to give in his name to his school or your public library.
By Kathleen Odean