o I resist praising my kids for being smart. Instead, I congratulate them on hard work and determination.
o I provide lots of different reading materials in the house.
o I read to my kids even after they can read on their own.
o When we read together, I try to make it a social activity, not a quiet time.
o I set aside time for them to read for pleasure (not related to school assignments) every day, ideally fifteen to thirty minutes.
o When my child chooses something I’d rather he or she didn’t read (comic books, toilet humor, a book that seems too young), I bite my tongue rather than criticize.
o I set aside a time each day when all electronic entertainment must be shut off, and all the family (including parents!) reads—aloud or silently, together or separately.
o I encourage my older children to read to their younger siblings or neighbors, perhaps even pay or reward them for doing so.
o I occasionally reflect on any reading struggles I had as a child, and talk about how I overcame them.
o (For moms): I encourage my husband (or a primary male role model) to do his own reading within sight of our son, and to read with him.
o I encourage a guy to take my son to the library or bookstore on occasion—and to enter and select books at the same time!
o I tell kids their brain is a muscle that gets stronger with use. (Kids told this do better on test scores.)
o I remind them that good grades lead to better earning power.
o I buy my kids books or gift certificates for bookstores on occasion.
o I always give the kids a choice between several types of books and remember to let them hold the book and turn the pages.
o Sometimes, after a movie, I check out the book it was based on from the library and compare it with the movie version with my kids.
o I get my kids to help me make shopping lists, read labels on food, write thank-you notes, clip coupons, read road signs and road maps—anything that uses their reading and writing skills.
o I encourage my kids to make up stories, and I write some of them down as they tell them.
o I buy or borrow library copies of books on tape, or tape record stories for my kids.
o I’ve helped my kids create a special place for the books they own.
o I keep a few favorite reading materials in the car.
o I’ve bought all my kids bedside reading lamps and turn a blind eye to late-night (but not super late-night) book or magazine reading. However, I’m aware that cell phone and Internet use late at night is vastly different; it robs kids of sleep.
Excerpted from Jump-Starting Boys: Help Your Reluctant Learner Find Success in School and Life, by Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill (Viva Editions). All references (footnotes) contained in the book.