Your child is behaving in an age appropriate way. Many children, boys especially are not developmentally ready to learn to read until age 7 or 8. Saying that, there are many things parents can do to ‘prime the pump’ as far as literacy goes. Starting at birth, reading is an important part of every child’s life. These suggestions apply to children from birth to at least Middle School if not beyond.

·      Read aloud to your child every single night. This has a dual advantage of encouraging an interest in reading as well as creating great opportunities for closeness and connection. Make sure the books you read are about things he is interested in. Don’t worry if he needs to squirm about as he listens. This is completely normal for many kids.

·      Severely limit screen time. This includes TV, Video Games, tablets, etc.

·      Play literacy games with your child. You can make them up or you can find ideas online. The Ministry of Education has some great activities at Learn Now BC (http://www.learnnowbc.ca/learningcentre/), or check out the teachers’ store downtown.

·      Get involved in your local library. Most libraries allow families to borrow a basket of books that can be rotated regularly, ensuring there is always something enticing to read.

·      Model reading for pleasure. When children see their parents reading for pleasure, they are more inclined to want to read themselves.

·      Provide lots of opportunities for your son to engage in active play so that he will be ready to settle for a bit to play quieter games and reading activities.

·      Make time each day for him to look at books that appeal to him. Given a choice, most kids would prefer to watch TV or play on computers; that is why it is so important to limit screen time.

·      Is there a family member your son is closely connected with? A grandma or grandpa perhaps? Sometimes it is great to set aside a half-hour a week for them to read aloud to someone else. When my son was 7, he too, was a developing reader. My mum invited him over every Saturday morning to read to her. Every time he finished a book, Grandma had a small treat for him. He loved these special times with his grandma and now that he is a 28 year old, he still speaks of his times with his grandma with love and affection. Coincidentally, he has become an accomplished reader and enjoys reading for pleasure as an adult!

·      Your son’s teachers may have suggestions about activities to support reading. The important thing is to keep all activities engaging and short in duration until he is a bit older.

·      Later if reading still does not progress you may choose to have his learning assessed by a professional. They will look at how your child learns and offer suggestions for assisting the learning process. For now, it is much to soon to follow that path. 

 


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