Getting My Boy to Read (And Love It!)

My son reads at almost a grade nine level. He's in grade 7. You'd think that he'd like to read, right? Wrong.

It's partially because of his sensory issues (he doesn't like the feel of paper) (see Asperger's - The Road to a Diagnosis) and partially because he's always in a rush and doesn't slow down to digest what he's reading unless it's something that really interests him, like YouTube comments. Although his reading ability is very high, his reading comprehension is quite low based on testing, and getting him to read books seems to be the solution, tied in with discussions around what he has read.

I took a class this summer around learning disabilities and found that some kids just don't compute the words they are reading, sometimes it's easier for them to grasp and retain information when it is read to them by one of the many text to speech programs now available. I didn't want to discourage reading, so we fooled around on, listening to samples of books, until we found one that he liked; Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, by Brandon Sanderson. We swung by the library that same day and picked up the book to supplement our audio story telling experience.

Normally we read in his room, but I decided to take the reading out of the bedroom and make it an anywhere in the house activity. That evening, I made some hot chocolate while my son grabbed some blankets and pillows for the couch, what we would have done for special movie watching nights. Then we hunkered down on the couch together to read along while the story played on the laptop, filling the room with an air of intrigue and adventure.

Are you thinking grade seven is too old to be having read-alongs? I wondered that myself, but he was reading along in the book and that's what matters to me right now. He was also asking for one more chapter before bed, which was music to my ears. That night as I left his room, he asked if he could stay up a little longer to do some reading. Mission accomplished.

I know my son is benefitting, not only from the reading activity and discussions, but from our additional quality time together, and so am I. I think my next step will be to buy him an eReader to eleviate his need to hold on to a paper book, which gives him goose bumps. He will be more relaxed and be able to enjoy the reading activity even more - I hope.

If you have any suggestions for great boys books, please leave a comment.

Good luck out there,
JB Pin It

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