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Customer Discussions > Children's Books forum

Getting children to read

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Showing 1-25 of 52 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 30, 2009 1:20:19 PM PDT
I can't seem to get my nine year old son to read. I have bought so many books thinking they will be of interest to him. He reads a few pages, then abandons them. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Posted on Aug 30, 2009 2:33:27 PM PDT
Do you read to him? Throwing books at someone and saying "READ!" usually doesn't work. I remember my mom reading chapter books to me and my brother for a long time after we could read ourselves. Or maybe you haven't given him anything he's really interested in. Make a bargain with him, you'll give him the money to buy ANY book he wants as long as he reads it all and if he doesn't finish it, he has to pay you back (and no grinching on your part if he picks something you don't approve of like a game strategy guide (there's still reading in those)). ;) Or better yet try the library.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 30, 2009 3:36:32 PM PDT
grayson37 says:
What are his interests?

Posted on Aug 30, 2009 7:24:31 PM PDT
I don't know if you have a Half-Price books or a similar book store around but I'd take him to a bookstore and let him pick out what he wants to read. I remember my mother doing this with me. She'd give me a number of books I could get or a monetary limit to stay within but I got the books *I* wanted to read. I did this with my stepkids as well. My stepdaughter is now an avid reader of the books she wants to read....and reading something is better than reading nothing at all.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2009 12:41:13 PM PDT
Aviva Lynne says:
My parents once a week to my brother, sister and I to a book store and let us pick out what we wanted to read...including magazines, comics besides books. All three of us became big readers.

Also my mother read aloud to us until the 5th grade every night before bed. Since my sister and I shared a bedroom it made for many happy memories of books the three of us shared together.

Also try audiobooks to get him interested in loving well told stories. That will lead him to read.

And typically often boys will prefer nonfiction to fiction so I suggest try those. What are his interests? Then help him pick out up some good non fiction related to it. For instance if he is into sports look for books about that sport (how to do, the hisotry of it) and biographies of great athletes in that sport.

Posted on Aug 31, 2009 3:09:41 PM PDT
Do you read books yourself, for fun? The example of at least two family members is one reason I like reading myself. And other family members ALWAYS read the newspaper and assorted magazines. Set an example. And set aside time for reading. There's got to be time between sports and other extracurricular activities to sit down and read. Try to pick a time when he won't be interrupted with "time to set the table" or "clean your room" or "go outside and play"
USE THE LIBRARY! They have lots of stuff to choose from too. Let him choose what he'd like to read there. Librarians have miles of lists of good books, from lists of award winners to 'if you like that, try this' My public library has a summer reading program that lets kids earn points for each book read and spend the points on prizes. The prizes range from pencils/stickers/etc. for a few points to a selection of paperbacks and coupons for fast food items to at least one big item- admission for an adult and child to the zoo or a baseball game(we have a minor league team) or tickets to the IMAX theater. There's a limit of 1 for the big item, but otherwise if they want to get lots of stickers and french fries coupons they can.
Picture books get 5 pts up through whatever for easy readers, chapter books, up to a max for YA and adult books for kids who'll try Dickens or whatever. And while the older kids CAN get credit for reading picture books to younger siblings, they're encouraged to read at grade level to themselves.
See if he'll try something like that next summer. Do encourage browsing at the library and let him choose books himself. Stuff you pick out yourself is more fun. and don't fuss if he picks the graphic novels etc, at least he's reading.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2009 3:11:35 PM PDT
K. McNamara says:
I agree with the "read" with your kid suggestions. When my daughter was young I would often read her the first chapter, and then while I was making dinner she would pick up the book and keep reading. You may need to make other distractions like TV and computer games unavailable - reading requires a lot more effort than other pasttimes, so a kid often has to be pretty bored before they will make that effort.
On the comics front, try Jeff Smith's Bone or Calvin and Hobbes collection. If your school has a library, ask the librarian what is popular right now. At our school, Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories are very popular with this age. Boys this age often want to read "the cool" book. Has your nine year old liked any books?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2009 3:16:37 PM PDT
K. McNamara says:
I forgot to suggest that you might want to try reading a book, where you alternate reading pages with your son. This has the advantage that you can find out if your son's reading skills are up to any given book.

Posted on Aug 31, 2009 4:28:07 PM PDT
H. Baker says:
I also agree that reading with your child is a great idea. This is especially effective for children under the age of ten or eleven. What is nice about reading to kids in this age range is that often, there are books that may perhaps be more advanced than their reading level, but will still hold their interest. These books may be intimidating for them to read on their own, or they may not be able to get as much out of them due to the vocabulary, etc. That's where you come in! Often, this will also stimulate their interest enough to get them to try reading them on their own, which builds confidence, increases their vocabulary, etc.

Good luck!

H. W. Baker
The Minution Chronicles - Saving Zinitheron

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2009 7:44:36 PM PDT
saurian says:

I think the key issue is when you say "I have bought so many books thinking they will be of interest to him". Your son needs to be the one picking his own books out based on what his interests actually are, not what you think they are. At this point in his life, your goal should be to encourage him to read anything, as long as he's reading. Don't worry if it's not something you would find interesting--you just want him reading something to get used to reading for enjoyment. As time goes on, his reading selections will change and broaden. I've seen this happen with my own son, who only wanted to read "Captain Underpants" a few years ago, and this past year (he's 14 now) he's read Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, and some really great classic science fiction like Rendezvous with Rama, and The Caves Of Steel. I write and illustrate non-fiction children's books, and I think boys need a certain level of "WOW!" to keep them interested enough to finish a book.

Just my 2 cents.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2009 7:07:03 AM PDT
FourWinds says:
Try Muskie Attack: An Up North Adventure. My son read it in one sitting and he hates to read.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2009 3:57:12 PM PDT
J. White says:
Might he be interested in a book that was illustrated by a 10-year old boy? My son was the illustrator for a humorous poetry book for kids called, Coolhead Luke and other Stories. You and he can preview some of the poems and drawings on our blog and see if he likes them:

If he does, we have links to purchase the book on the blog. Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2009 6:26:54 AM PDT
The Treelanders: Journey to the Giants

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2009 12:03:35 AM PDT
Greg Lewolt says:
Take him to the Zoo, museums, big movie theatres, play old time radio shows, to get his mind painting pictures of the action etc
once he is interested in Anything, that will point to a book he will love to read.

I come from a family of 5 boys, If my mom bought us a book after the age of 5 forget it!

Hardy Boys adventures, Goosebumps, mad magazine, comics, role playing video games, Comedy joke books, reading is reading

My mom was upset that my son devoured all the goosebumps books when he was a kid,
Well he is a perfect speller and reads too much at 21, she hated that he was playing games on the computer, but he types so fast you can't see his fingers move with grammar and all, unlike his father...

Books are magic and joy, don't make it a chore like eating your peas..

also have his eyesight checked and other reading problems like maybe mild dyslexia. My mom was a school nurse and found many kids that were not participating due to a little poor eyesight.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2009 9:03:45 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 24, 2010 1:35:40 PM PST]

Posted on Oct 29, 2009 12:02:02 PM PDT
Lindsey says:
The Adventures of Pip and Sammy is a fun book with great animals and it has a code in the back to download the audio book for free. Very helpful for children, they can listen as they read along. Suitable for 5-11 year olds.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2009 11:07:58 PM PDT
D Teamrat says:
''Ali and the magic ball'' by wayne edwards is extremely good, and illustrations great.Try this one

Posted on Oct 30, 2009 5:37:01 AM PDT
I would not worry too much. My son (who was quite gifted) did not read until he was an adult. Now he loves novels.
As a high school student he would read books on sports, but as an elementary student, he was just not interested in independent reader. I read all the time, read to my kids when young, but.... he did NOT like to read. He did not have a "reading problem", just wasn't interested. My best suggestion is to take him to the library or bookstore and look for books that are in his area of interest. There are a few really popular books out for kids now - you'll see them on display at the bookstores.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2009 3:45:53 PM PDT
Carey - try 'The Chess Piece Magician'... it was written for three young boys, is a page-turner and is certainly worth a look.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2009 11:30:43 AM PDT
Inspiredme says:
Goylegate: One Gargantuan Scandal

It is adventurous from the beginning and makes you ask lots of questions. Plus it is really funny. Do the have a look inside to see if he will like it!

Posted on Oct 31, 2009 8:09:52 PM PDT
bookaholic13 says:
Try not to put a limit on the number of books either, unless it's way too expensive. A lot of people are worried about the clutter and stuff-maybe you're not, but I'm just making a statement. My parents never did that to me. (I sort of learned on my own. I eventually filled up my bookshelf and had piles of books on the floor. My dad eventually had to buy me a new bookshelf.)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2009 5:48:03 AM PST
Libby Murray says:
If he finds a book that he can relate to and that means something to him, he'd be on the right road.

Libby Murray

Posted on Nov 2, 2009 2:39:19 PM PST
Look for a new adventure series for children 8-12 about a normal, everyday, 9-year-old boy called Gappy, whose parents break the news one day that he is turning into a vampire and will be developing magical powers to go with it. He's not allowed to tell anyone for risk of regular humans finding out, but things keep happening where he is tempted to use one of his cool, new skills to help other kids and save the day. Will he get into trouble with the Vampire Council, not to mention his mom and dad? Book 1 is very short to introduce young readers to Gappy, then books 2 and 3 get progressively longer to encourage the reader to KEEP READING. Look for "Gappy Vampire" in Amazon.

Posted on Nov 3, 2009 1:20:24 PM PST
I Am Tom Morrow is the best book ever!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2009 1:39:32 PM PST
John Girone says:
Have your son check "inside the pages" of my book, Under the Eagle's Beak: The Search for the Treasure of Pirate's Pit.
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Discussion in:  Children's Books forum
Participants:  49
Total posts:  52
Initial post:  Aug 30, 2009
Latest post:  Sep 12, 2012

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