With so many things going on in our hectic lives how do we wind down and sleep? Here are some ideas drawn from the experience of a light sleeper.
As parents, I’m sure we’re all been there. We’re concerned about how little our children read, especially tweens and boys, and we want to find ways of developing their language skills. Not least because schooling and exams require greater literacy, and of course reading can inspire learning and expand their minds. Remembering also that they will need to write their own creative stories at exam level before too long…
Let’s face it, these days there are numerous distractions for children. We’d like to encourage them to read more and to spend less time gaming or watching TV, so how can we achieve this goal of encouraging more reading? Here are some tried and tested tips, I hope you find them useful.
- A regular time for reading
Establishing a reading time before sleep or first thing on a weekend morning can help to calm the mind. And reintroduce reading. Just watch out for a genuine page-turner in case they are up half the night. Or worse the iPad hidden between the pages.
2. Invite your son or daughter to choose their books
The thinking here is that if they buy into the book when researching and purchasing it, they are more likely to want to read it. A trip to a large bookstore can help. And a suitable budget. Also, keep in mind charity bookstores which can carry a wide array of well loved books.
3. Random book token gifts
A gift of a book token might sound obvious, however it can still work. Unlike an Amazon voucher, what else can they spend a bona-fide book token on? We’ve found this to be useful when encouraging darling son to select his next proper read. Within boundaries of course.
4. Indulge their interests
If they love Percy Jackson or Harry Potter, where’s the harm? The whole series? Sure, if they are inspired to read. Again, bear in mind libraries and charity shops if costs are concerning. Book swaps too can be a great way to keep up the momentum. We found that it is like pushing at an open door when the books are enjoyable. Throw in Dickens and the whole mood changes. Having said that they are some great ‘classic’ reads which are easier going and engaging.
5. Oldies can be golden
Think back to the books you loved as a child or tween. Perhaps even a more challenging classic read. Particularly funny books. I suggested The Hitchhikers Guide, Biggles and The Hobbit. Perhaps I was lucky, but they all stuck home. In each case, that’s a whole load of reading…
6. One to read and two for the shelf
I suggest lining up three books at a time. It’s easier to buy in batches and it means that if a book proves to be ‘boring’ there are other options immediately available. If a series has inspired your darling daughter (or son) then lining up the next few is probably a sound investment. Again, charity shops, swaps or libraries can come in handy.
6 1/2. In print..
Bonus tip – buy, borrow or acquire print copies. There’s something about holding a printed book in your hands. A digital copy may work, however the chances are that same device has games loaded on it as well? And you know ‘app’ which will win out? Most likely the fad adrenaline-packed game…
Hope you find these tips useful.
Parent and Author of Sean Yeager Adventures
I hear a lot of talk about encouraging youngsters into technical subjects and careers. My take on this is that hearts and minds are won early, through inspiration and positive experiences. It could be a great teacher, project or visit. Most likely it is a personal experience that is rewarding and fun. All the better if there are opportunities to follow up and develop those interests hands-on. But what really sparks the enthusiasm and motivation inside a young person’s mind?
I believe it is imagination and the space to create and build on ideas.
When I began writing I had a series of choices to make. I could chase the market and write what was most likely to be published next. Or I could play safe and fit in with the typical bookshelf of the day.
I decided to do neither.
I asked my son and his friends what they really wanted to read about in their leisure time. They talked about adventures, gizmos and technology. I set about weaving real-world science and history references around their interests, while keeping things fast paced and witty. And so Sean Yeager Adventures was born.
Here’s an example — How does a light sabre work?
Possibly you are now thinking about energy, particles, plasma, heat, contact, radiation. Perhaps batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, nuclear reactions, matter, laws of thermodynamics, the properties of light etc.
There’s no right answer. My digression was to get you thinking about science and design. Who knows, perhaps one day there will be a real light sabre? I’ve asked this question at home and our conclusions were hilarious.
I’ve heard it said that Star Trek communicators inspired mobile phones. Either way, I suspect we are far more visual than we realise. If we see it, imagine it and think about it, do we then set ourselves the tasks of concepting, designing, researching and building?
Of course the world is full of ideas. Skill, knowledge and application are huge factors, and that is where the education system comes in. Perhaps if we start encouraging imagination and enthusiasm as well, future generations will be better motivated to follow through on their ideas in technical areas?
I’ll leave that debate to academics and educators.
My aims as an author are to inspire, entertain and encourage young readers to investigate science and history for themselves. To date I’ve woven in references to Egyptology, cloning, artificial intelligence, robotics, mind training and numerous technical gizmos.
I have to say that researching the facts has been fascinating, and writing the books has been a blast!
Thanks for reading.
Author of Sean Yeager Adventures
Five great book reading tips for boys.
Boys can sometimes be reluctant to read books and let’s face it they often have plenty of other distractions. Recent research has shown that regular book reading and progress with reading development are key indicators of success at school. So how can carers and parents encourage boys to read more often and more widely?
Here are some tips to help the boys in your life read more I hope they help.
1. Involve boys in buying (or borrowing) their books
In this way they will feel empowered and given the choice of what they would like to read. Be careful though not to limit their choice too much. Most people like to feel they have a say in their life choices and boys are no different when it comes to books. And by the way, physical books are far more attractive than e-books or worse a computer file (where they can easily pretend to be reading).
2. Indulge their interests (within reason)
If your boy likes reference books about sports cars, go with the flow. It’s worth bearing in mind that any reading can be good reading. Of course there will be some exceptions, but if they love Mutant Alien Zombie Slimebugs from Lincolnshire and the book is a harmless read, where’s the harm? You can always insert a few more traditional choices alongside their apparent favourites.
3. Set regular reading times
A regular time before sleep or early in the morning can work really well. As can ‘dead time’ in a car or while waiting for an out of school class. As a parent I have found that regular slots work best and when my son has a book he really enjoys it is so easy, he simply wants to find out what happens next.
4. Acquire some ‘cool’ books
Peer pressure is a huge factor as your child reader grows up. If their whole school is interested in Harry Potter or a similar high profile title seize the opportunity. They may not like each book just because their friends and rivals do, however it’s another string to your bow in convincing them to read in a soft way. Their motivation being the key point here.
5. Reward regular reading with treats
If all else fails, reward reading minutes with another currency. It may not be money, it could be time spent doing something else they enjoy. To succeed though they must always earn their reward before being allowed to indulge in their laptop, computer games or football (for example). Bribery may not be ideal, but it can work if used sparingly and provided promises are kept on both sides.
Best of luck