Saturday, April 21, 2012

Trisha asks....

Trisha asks:  "Would love to get my grandson to read more. I read to him all the time as he was growing up and then at around 7 he didn't want me to read to him anymore. He is 10 now and a great reader but doesn't like to sit and read and just chill out. He loves to visit the library and look at books but if we bring any home he won't read them. I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to how I can get him really interested in a good book and actually take the time to read just a chapter or two a night or suggestions on a good book that after reading the first chapter he is hooked and can't put the book down? Thank You!"
A few thoughts.... 
Hi Trisha - Does he have any favorite subjects? One thing to remember about boys is that they LOVE Non-Fiction. Fiction? Not so much. It's that analytical/practical brain that God gave them. =D 
1) It sounds like you have already tried having him pick out a book or two at the bookstore. And that hasn't worked so well. So, I have a few thoughts for you to try this summer:
Between Two Ends a) Make it a "date" each week to take a trip to the library or your local book store. Bring one of his friends with you and have them pick out a book that they would like to read and then discuss with you the next week during your "date". Have hot chocolate (yes, I know it's summer), ice tea, a smoothie - what ever and then talk about what they think is happening on the cover of the book and what do they think is going to happen in the book? If you have time have the boys take turns reading the first chapter - maybe they can alternate with the paragraphs (you read too). Then plan on getting together the next week to discuss the book - or if they haven't finished it read another chapter together and so on. (Between Two Ends would be a great book to read this summer - it's a cross of The Arabian Nights and a great Action story - read my review here)
2) Is he into True Stories about Heroes, Firefighters, War Heroes? Or maybe really into science, astronomy/outer space? How about Extreme Sports - the Olympics are coming up too.You might check into books like:
Discovery Adventure Books: Age 8+, ap 80 pages each. This series is visually exciting, highly informative and complete with photographs, illustrated diagrams & comic strips. FULL of information such as: a fascinating selection of recommended websites with stats and details for kids who are fanatics about fighter planes, motorcycles, helicopters, race cars, submarines, warships and tanks. $8.99 each/avail as a series too (click here)
War Stories: 12+, 432 pages. This great book contains stories based on actual life events. Many of the stories are about people who had to make tough decisions based on what they knew to be the right thing to do. Thrilling adventures that will make you feel as if you were actually there. Ideal for reluctant readers & adults. Note: This one is a BIG book but can be read as a chapter a night - ideal for a Grandpa/Grandson read along. It would give them something to talk about and lots of stories to share - and is a great way to encourage kids to make the right choice even tho the consequences to themselves might not be ideal.
Is there a male figure in his life that could start reading with him? Guys like to read "facts and figures" and make weird noises - Little Men need to see Big Men reading now & as he becomes a man. It's a good opportunity for him to converse with others and share what he's learning.
Extreme Adventures: Age 8+, 144 pages.  Action has a new hero - Sam Fox! With a talent for attracting danger, Sam Fox is an expert at getting himself into (and out of) the most extreme situations. This series has a strong appeal with a courageous young hero and exotic settings and has non-stop action and short chapters which will engage reluctant readers. 
**My nephew Brett LOVES this series. He started reading them at around age 7 1/2 and we were a little worried they would be too scary but he asked to read book two and then three... we think he LIKED getting scared! Read an excerpt from Bk 1 Crocodile Attack $5.99 each/avail as a series too 
Other books he might be interested in:  I'd like to encourage you to keep illustrated encyclopedia's around your house. These are great - leave them on the coffee table, in the bathroom (captive audience there), by his bed and in the car! 
Usborne Books has great ones with small amounts of information and BIG pictures for kids to study and examine. The illustrated encyclopedia's are great for kids that have a hard time reading big passages of text. They are internet linked and your grandson can use these links to find more information on things he's interested in (whales, machines, outer space, etc), experiments and animated learning tools online.  What is an Internet-Linked book?
You might also consider a few books like these (click the picture):
Here is an example of some activities/experiments from the Science Encyclopedia that you can find with the Internet Links:
  1. Hot-air balloon experiment to try at home. 
  2. Make marbled paper based on the principle that oil and water do not mix. (Click on "Marvelous Marbling".) 
Lastly, I have a few questions since I don't know your Grandson. These are things you might consider as you help him become a life long reader.
a) Is he in between stages of reading? What kind of books is he drawn to? Are they more difficult or more advanced than he needs? Are they to advanced for him emotionally or mentally? 
b) Is your grandson feeling overwhelmed by the size of the books (too many pages/print is small/no pictures) and not sure what he'll like? Is he still wishing to be read to some? (If you catch him pulling the book closer to his face perhaps he is having trouble reading smaller print. You may want to consider getting his eyes checked)
Kids in the middle elementary grades still enjoy pictures. Remember pictures are used by kids to help them "read" the book, guess what's happening next and it helps them to "connect" with the story and the people in the book.
c) Is he starting to see and want to participate in activities like sports, camping, etc - are his interests changing? If so consider getting him a sports magazine or another kind of kid's magazine that matches his interest. Two that come to mind are: (click on the picture)
National Geographic KidsSports Illustrated KIDS (1-year auto-renewal)
The reason I brought these up is that you will be encouraging him to read about what he is interested in. There are the "small" chunks of information, big action oriented pictures and he can read a couple of pages and share what he has learned. Also if he is a very active child and has a hard time sitting still these are ideal for him. (Comics fit this area also. See my review here). 
Journal Buddies for Tween Girls and boysI'd like to make one last suggestion - if you end up doing a summer book club or even make it a goal to read together as a family for a 1/2 hour a day - get your child a journal and encourage them to write while you read aloud to them. They can write anything they want - it's private and only for them. Parents use your discretion if you feel you need to take a look at the journal - just remember that this is a place for your middle grade child to spill their guts or be as creative as they want so please don't use it to lecture or "teach" about proper sentence structure. =D Girl Journal Boy Journal
This is getting so long I'm going to stop here. I hope this gave you some good ideas. Please keep asking questions! 
Parents & teachers - do you have any great ideas on how to get kids to read in the summer? Please share your comment below:


  1. My children are younger, but respond well to goal setting -- i.e. reading 20 books in a year.

    I also like to tie books to experiences -- read the book then watch the movie, read the book and visit a museum to find out more.

    I have always wanted to try getting multiple copies of a book, reading it separately than the child, but then meeting to talk about it.

  2. Get the Conspiracy 365 series from Usborne! hey will draw him in and keep his attention!

    1. Conspiracy 365 is a great series. Have you read the newest book in the series? I've heard she is working on Bk 14 too. All of us consultants were shocked.

  3. Hi Eric - thanks for your comments. I often suggest people read the book first and then find one of the oldest movies to go with the book. A lot of times the older movies tie in with the book much closer (ie - Heidi). Good idea!

  4. I started reading to my kids since they were a few months old, and it's now a tradition to read a story before going to bed

  5. Thanks to this informative post, Tina. My kids love books, too. It is indeed a great way to buy books of their interest and gradually, you can introduce and broaden it.

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  7. What a nice blog! Stopping over from the Monday Madness, one of your newest followers . Good to meet you, have a wonderful week :)

  8. nice info there... i love science stuff and love to experiment when I was still young... now..hmmm no more (",)probably experimenting on meals for my family hahaha

    1. LOL - daily meals is definitely an experiment if you have a picky family (especially). I like a lot of the science books - once you teach your kids how to read them and how to do the experiments safely they can do a lot of them on their own - then it's just a matter of getting them to clean up after themselves!

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  10. When I was a child we couldn't afford to buy books very often, but my parents would make an event out of borrowing them from the library. After I checked out my favorite books, my parents would take me to get a snowball and we would go to the park where we would talk about why I chose each book. After I read them, we would select one book to turn into a play. It was a lot of fun to bring these characters to life.

    1. What a great idea! I'm going to share your answer on FB & G+! Thanks for sharing...