Ask Maxwell: How Can I Get My Son Excited About Reading?
While I know schools teach reading, I’ve always found that everyone eventually reads and it just COMES when the time is right. That said, I totally relate to your wanting to get your son into the world of stories at a young age as that is such a magical time for the imagination and for creating pictures in your head which is the foundation of so much later creative work. This is what I would recommend.
The first and easiest and BESTIST thing you can do is read aloud to your children. Reading before bedtime is a particularly sweet moment, which I wrote about here, and, as a parent of a dyslexic girl, it is not only a great shared experience, it builds imaginative strength and translates to stronger reading comprehension later on.
BUT, another fun thing that I remember doing as a kid and which I did with my daughter is to buy a simple, portable record player for your home and get them stories on records that they can play over and over to themselves. Yes, you could simply put an audio-book on your iPhone, which is fine, but that tactile nature of the record player, I’ve found, is a big hit with kids.
This is the one that I bought for my daughter – it’s a Crosley Vintage Suitcase Turntable and it comes in many colors. For the stories, I scoured eBay to find the ones that I remember as a kids, including:
– Just So Stories read by Sterling Holloway
– The Story of Black Beauty
– The Gumdrop Follies
– Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales read by Danny Kaye
I know these are really old and that was my childhood, but old is not bad and I would urge you to simply search for the vinyl version of any stories you remember as a kid as I’m sure you can find them. Then make a special little presentation to your son – maybe it’s a birthday – teach him to gently put the needle down on the record and let him loose.
I guarantee you that he’ll carry his new toy off to his room and get deep into stories. 🙂
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Maxwell Ryan is a father and was an elementary school teacher in NYC before founding Apartment Therapy. He’d love to answer your question: firstname.lastname@example.org. This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids.
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