For the Love of Reading

May 9, 2012, Parenting Success Network

I LOVE to read.

My 10 year old daughter LOVES to read.

My 8 year old son will read if he has to. How is this possible? I ask myself. He is such a successful reader. Why doesn’t he enjoy reading?

Sometimes I wonder what makes my children’s enthusiasm for reading so different. I read to each of them regularly as babies and I continue to read to them to this day. As an educator, I know the things that parents can do to promote early literacy: read to your child every day, talk to your child, sing to your child, play games with your child, let your child see you enjoy reading etc.  I did (and still do) these things with all three of my children.

I understand that siblings may be related but they are individual beings and have unique desires and motivations. But deep down inside I would like to see my son get the pleasure out of reading that his older sister and I do.  So I set out to find alternative ways to motivate him to read.

What I discovered is that there are far more reading genres for a child’s reading pleasure than I originally thought. I needed to think outside the box. I needed to consider alternate forms of literature. And I needed to check out what other BOYS that love to read are reading. Yes, sometimes what motivates a boy to read is very different from what motivates a girl to read.

In my search for answers I ran across an insightful article on written by James Patterson (one of my favorite authors) titled How to Get Your Kid to Be a Fanatic Reader. Patterson suggests that parents should take charge of encouraging their children to read,  parents should be role models when it comes to enjoying reading (I’ve got this one covered), and parents should encourage their children (especially boys) to explore alternate reading genres such as, “The Guiness Book of World Records” and the “Sports Illustrated Almanac”.

So I set off to find my son’s reading passion. Several magazine titles later, I discovered that he is highly motivated by Japanese manga or graphic novels. He devours them! I can’t get him to put them down. He begs to go to the library and check them out–five at a time! And that was just the beginning. After this discovery, I have helped my son find similar genres for entertaining reading. Now he enjoys reading and he is motivated to read even when it is not assigned.

My son was not the only one inspired by this reading genre. After watching how much fun my son was having while reading his graphic novels, his older sister and I started reading them as well. Why should he have all the fun?