How to grow readers

How to grow readersBoth of my boys are readers. Mr12 is a die-hard reading addict, much like his mother, and has the blog to prove it. Mr9 is less obsessive, but always has a book (or four) on the go.

He’s a dipper, is Mr9, and I always watch his progress with great interest. Why? Because if he finishes a book, I know that book has something really special, so I read it myself to try to find out what that secret might be…

(If you’re wondering, the last books he completed were John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice and Richard Roxburgh’s Artie and the Grime Wave).

I’m sometimes asked how I get them to read. With Mr12, there is no ‘get’ involved. He discovered books at five and has inhaled them ever since, to the point where dragging him away is often more of a problem.

Mr9 is a different case and not a boy who would choose to read when he can run, jump, kick a ball or, equally, play a screen.

But he is surrounded by readers.

I read, The Builder reads, Mr12 reads… The house is full of books and there are always more and more coming through the door. We go to the library, we frequently ‘poke around’ in bookshops. Every time I go to an author event I get the boys a signed book from one of the other authors.

The Builder and I have read to both boys since they were born. Me, ad nauseum, The Builder, regularly. Even now, I still read aloud to Mr12 on occasion, despite the fact that he is more than capable of reading all by himself, just because we both enjoy it.

And every night, we send them off to bed to read, partly for relaxation, partly for reading habit, partly for enjoyment and, frankly, partly for my own vicarious pleasure. (Seriously, the thought of being despatched to bed at 8pm every night to read is pretty much my idea of heaven these days.)

For me, growing readers is about finding the right books (you’ll find some great suggestions here), creating a habit, and then enabling it as much as you can. But I also get that some kids are tough nuts to crack when it comes to reading. So, let’s open this up for discussion…

What do you think? Are your kids readers? What steps did you take to get them there?