How to encourage your son to read over the holidays

As we head into the Easter break kids often have a surplus of free time, and inevitably turn to computer games or their phones for entertainment.  However, encouraging them to find joy in the pages of a book can be extremely worthwhile.

Reading builds vocabulary, which in turn improves comprehension. Readers, not surprisingly, tend to write better than non-readers.

Recently, The Crowther Centre published a paper titled Getting young people to read.  The paper confirms that ‘reading is central to academic success… reading is also linked to positive wellbeing in young people, as well as improved empathy, increased understanding of self and a better understanding of their place in the world’.

What can parents do to encourage their sons to read?

  • Create and maintain reading routines. Good readers make reading a habit. Many families have bedtime reading routines when their children are young, but these tend to drop off when children begin to read independently. Having a routine where everyone (even you!) reads before bed is both conducive to good sleep, as well as habit forming.
  • Protect reading time. While technology is a fact of life, it takes up time and interrupts focus. Create some agreed tech-free times for reading (before bed is a good time).
  • Make reading a pleasure. The research is clear; when we enjoy reading, we read more. Create positive associations with reading by engaging in shared reading experiences with your children (regardless of their age). Never use reading as a ‘punishment’.
  • Show you value reading. Display your books; the visible presence of adult books in the home is a key measure of academic achievement for children. Read where the children can see you. Spend time going to libraries or bookshops. Read your children’s set texts for English. Join a book club.
  • Reward reading. While research suggests that intrinsic motivation (performing an activity for personal reward) is more important than extrinsic motivation (performing an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment), it is important to acknowledge and affirm your children as readers.

Before the holidays start, take some time to talk with your son and work together to create a balance between physical activity, device time and reading time over the holidays.

Good luck!

Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

The Crowther Centre uses the latest research evidence in education and advises a variety of organisations on staff development, student engagement and leadership. This article is about