Reading is a huge part of our lives. My degree is in English. My mom is a librarian. Ben comes from a family of readers. When we were dating and engaged we would read books out loud to each other--we still do. We read the Harry Potter series to each other. Reading and books are very important to us. Of course that would translate to our kids. . . we thought.
We started reading aloud to each of our kids the day they were born. We both felt reading aloud to kids was super important, and it is. A great book about that is Jim Trelease's The Read Aloud Handbook. I have used that religiously while my kids have been growing up. Ben--their dad--reading aloud to our kids is also super important--he still reads out loud to them now even though they are 15, 13,11, and 8. He also takes the time to read individually with Mr J. For a boy to have his dad read to him is priceless.
Our first two kids were super readers from the start--independent readers I should say. They both read the whole Harry Potter series on their own in 2nd grade. Our 3rd child really seemed to have a harder time with independent chapter book reading. Finally by 3rd grade she caught it, "the love to read chapter books on my own" bug. Our little man has probably been the hardest. He loves to read, loves, loves, loves it--picture books that is. And he loves to have his dad read to him. They are going through all of Andrew Clements books, but getting him to read a chapter book on his own (which he is totally capable of) has been like pulling teeth! It has been frustrating because we think, "you can do this, you love to read! Why not read a chapter book?" Patience is so important, and not really a virtue I possess--just being honest.
Finally, and reluctantly he has come around--or is still coming around :) We tried The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne--which my girls loved, but he didn't like them, but then Kate McMullan's The Dragon Slayers Academy finally caught and kept his attention. There are 20 books in that series, and he ate them up. I was cheering super loud!
I was worried about this summer. He checks out bag fulls (not joking) of picture books that he reads on his own, but wouldn't check out a chapter book. I kept suggesting, but he was not interested. Finally at library story hour this week our children's librarian (thanks Leah!) introduced him to The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. There are 5 books in the series and he got them on Tuesday. It is Thursday evening, and he just finished #5. He can't wait to check out the Beyond Spiderwick series now.
It just takes the right book, and then they are totally hooked. So, don't give up on a reluctant reader. Keep reading, and reading and reading, and keep looking for that right book. I think good books for boys are harder, though, but it is so worth it and important for them to love reading. It will bless them their whole life!
If you have any good boy book suggestions, I would love to hear them! I am going to be posting some of my girls' favorite books this next month, so check back!