Next to a bus stop where commuters stood waiting for the bus to arrive is a newspaper vendor. Each working day, this young man in his mid twenties just like the other commuters will buy a paper to read. On this particular day for some odd reason he picked a paper that was arranged upside down. Confident and with a sly smile he opened up the pages to read…still upside down (topsy-turvey) by the way. Others standing nearby noticed this and started giggling though pretended to read their papers.
Unaware he was the centre of the joke, he joined in the giggles as he flicked through the paper thinking there must be some interesting and hilarious story within the printed letters and words.
The truth of the matter is the young man in question can’t read to save his skin. Sadly just like the young man in my narration above, a lot of children are going through the school system to the point of graduating high school yet are unable to read or comprehend written material, particularly boys.
Facts Don’t Lie
For years education experts have hinted and this is backed with facts, that boys unlike girls don’t read as much. The National Literacy Trust, Boys’ Reading Commission 2012 Report is a good resource should one want to understand the problem and to address it. I would argue that since one needs to and is expected to read and understand even the simplest of instructions to be able to carry out a task correctly, it is no surprise that on average boys lag behind girls in academic performance.
Monkey See Monkey Do
The chances of our boys becoming avid readers who reads for pleasure and not as a chore is very slim indeed, if all he sees is a parent (particularly fathers) who’s eyes are forever glued to tv screens, fingers super glued to the remote control or to a smart phone and never reads a book.
There are things we can do as parents especially from when our boys are babies, to cultivate the love of reading if we are to give them a better than average chance with their literacy and reading skills.
Read to your little one even before they know what the letter ‘A’ is, and read everyday. They might not know what you are babbling about but you will be introducing them to a new world of possibilities, vocabulary, imagination and fun!
Read with passion and expression, what better way to show a child the magic and adventure that can leap off the very pages of a book.
Read together as you teach them to read. Make reading fun and an enjoyable experience…don’t get flustered if mistakes are made or if they get stuck. After all practice they say makes perfect, and the last thing you want to do is imprint upon their young minds a negative experience attached to the otherwise fine art of reading.
Just So You Know
As boys grow older and stop being fascinated about their soft toys so will they give up on fiction books. Ensure there are a variety of books about the house to keep them still interested in reading.
Boys will read what they find interesting, learning more about subjects they are into at a particular time. Try not to pull your hair out simply because they are not reading what you think they should or must read. Reading is reading, and so far as they are reading that is what is most important.
I guess until such a time when it is humanly possible to read without having to sit still or employ some concentration power, most boys will continue to find reading a chore and a bore. However, if we start them off well, we will help ease the burden and even raise boys that are enthusiastic about reading and achieving better results academically.