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9 year old boy dislikes reading -what can we do?

(39 Posts)
Haroldplaystheharmonica Mon 03-Mar-14 20:31:23

DS1 (9 1/2) just doesn't like reading and I don't know how we can make him like it! He's just taken himself off to bed as it was either that or stay up downstairs and read for a while. He's now lying awake in bed as 8.15 is a bit early for his bedtime.

I read and speed through (fiction) books on my kindle and OH always has a (factual) book on the go so it's not like we're a book-free family. His younger brother is a great reader and has nearly caught DS1 up with the school reading books. This doesn't make any difference as he really doesn't bow to peer pressure.

Has anyone got any advice / pearls of wisdom? The thing is that he'll do his other homework with not too much of a fuss, well he is a 9 year old boy wink but ask him to read and we end up arguing. It's so frustrating as his maths has come on so much since we've pushed Mathletics and done extra work at home.

Ferguson Mon 03-Mar-14 22:12:42

What's his standard of reading like? Does he have any particular difficulties? What about his writing?

If his reading ability is about where he should be for his age, and he understands most of what he reads and could comment or answer questions on content etc, then I guess trying to FORCE him to read when he doesn't want to could be counter productive.

Are there no topics, hobbies, sports, music or TV subjects he is sufficiently interested in to read a bit about them. Although it may be necessary to read novels, poems etc to do well in Yr 6 SATS, those aren't areas that one HAS to read as you get older if you don't want to.

So maybe be grateful that he does do other subjects, and try and 'back off' for a while on reading, and see how he reacts to that.

I was a TA for twenty years, and while some 'purists' might disagree with my suggestions, non-confrontation is probably best in the long run.

TamerB Mon 03-Mar-14 22:20:07

You won't get anywhere with open confrontation. I would read to him and leave it at an exciting part, if he doesn't want you to stop say, casually, that he could read in himself.

Jinsei Mon 03-Mar-14 22:23:57

Presumably, he doesn't see the point. I wouldn't push it too much if I were you - you might just put him off even more.

What is he interested in?

mamaduckbone Mon 03-Mar-14 22:27:41

Do you still read to him? If not, try to make time to and spend time finding books he really enjoys. I'd agree with the suggestion of stopping at an exciting bit and letting him keep his light on a bit longer to read on. It worked for my ds, who has only just, (at 8 so a bit younger than your ds but not by much) started to read for pleasure not as a chore / part of homework.

LynetteScavo Mon 03-Mar-14 22:30:15

My 10yo DS is the same.

I haven't found a magic answer - I just read to him. He does enjoy books this way. His dad never reads books for enjoyment either, and it doesn't seemed to have impaired his life in anyway.

bookishandblondish Mon 03-Mar-14 22:31:10

My brother was the same - didn't read from 9-20 unless forced to despite family being book lovers. Other than roger mcgough and asterix.

His first books though were Primo Levi, Gunter Grass and another noble prize winner at 21.

Try graphic novels and poetry - and don't force it.

Permanentlyexhausted Mon 03-Mar-14 22:34:39

Do you read to him at bedtime still? My 10 year old DS still loves having a bedtime story and it is a good way to introduce him to new stuff that he wouldn't try otherwise. He got stuck on Asterix and Tintin for a while and almost stopped reading altogether but I read him some 'chapter books' at bedtime and he hasn't looked back since.

One of the things that did put DS off was the emphasis schools put on children analysing what they're reading - what are the characters like? what might happen next? etc. He hated having to do that so just stopped reading. I know teachers are required to collect evidence of how children's reading is progressing but in our case it was proving detrimental. I spoke to his teacher and we agreed that he would write the title of the book and give it a star rating and nothing more if he didn't want to. It was more important that he just enjoyed reading. Could this be an issue with your DS?

ggirl Mon 03-Mar-14 22:43:58

ds 11 was like this,
we read to him each night and eventually he took to reading on his own.

It helped that dh read to him at night as well , they read golf. football stuff together (mutual interests)

He's now keen on reading at night ,but not any other time for enjoyment.

Haroldplaystheharmonica Mon 03-Mar-14 22:44:40

He can read and is often happy to look at books but they're annuals, encyclopedias, factual books rather than the Harry Potters, etc. that other children his age seem to whizz through. If it wasnt for the looming Yr 6 SATS, then I probably wouldn't be as concerned but I worry that not reading stories will impact on his ability to do things like comprehensions.

DS1 is a daydreamy child although has really "got" things this year and has been concentrating more in class. I suppose subjects like maths are either right or wrong so easier in a way but reading needs to interest him so his mind doesn't wander off to think about minecraft

I'm really not a pushy parent but it's hard not to worry about the reading side of things when you hear your friends talking about their kids reading in bed and not being able to put their current book down.

Haroldplaystheharmonica Mon 03-Mar-14 22:51:39

Sorry, a few cross posts there. I must admit we don't read to him these days although I'm sure he'd still like it. I suppose I just thought that he was too old but will go back to that and try a few stories with cliffhanger endings to chapters. Any recommendations? What books do 9-10 yr old boys like?

Permanently that really rings true about how school want them to analyse the books. On the odd time he has shown interest in a book at home, he's definitely got more into it than with his school books.

Some food for thought here and thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one with a child that isn't getting through 5 books a week!

ShoeWhore Mon 03-Mar-14 22:56:16

My ds1 is the same age and especially loves Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl books if that's any help? David Walliams went down well as well and some Michael Morpurgo. Also enjoyed reading the Hobbit with dh. He is very reluctant to read unless he's really into the book.

mamaduckbone Mon 03-Mar-14 22:59:31

Also, have you tried audio books? Then if you are confident that he can read well enough but isn't choosing to read fiction, he is at least being exposed to the rich language that quality fiction provides.
In terms of books that 9 year olds like:
- David Walliams
- Anthony Horowitz
- The Percy Jackson series (Rick Riordan)

mamaduckbone Mon 03-Mar-14 23:00:05

x post ShoeWhore

PeanutButterOnly Mon 03-Mar-14 23:02:01

How about the Minecraft hand books? Maybe better than nothing winkand get the reading habit going. DS is 9.9 and similarly reluctant to stick with novels. He is though anxiously awaiting the publication of the next MC handbooks. Just last week we had a small breakthrough after he watched the TinTin movie - that got him interested in reading the Adventures of TinTin book almost by accident when we went in Waterstones. Now he's trying a Willard Price book as he realised he likes adventure stories.

Permanentlyexhausted Mon 03-Mar-14 23:07:28

With bedtime stories I have a younger DD and read to them together so there's a whole mixture: Dinosaur Cove, Beast Quest, Secret Seven, Famous Five, The Naughtiest Girl, My Brother's Famous Bottom, Rainbow Magic Fairies.

I also bought each of them a nice hardback notebook to write down each book they read (title, author, date). They find it really satisfying to watch their progress down the page, especially if they read several shorter books in a fairly short space of time.

Haroldplaystheharmonica Mon 03-Mar-14 23:19:27

We're reading David Walliams to DS2 (nearly 7) at the moment so we may try dual bedtime stories. I used to live F. Five and S. Seven when I was younger so will try them too.

The funny thing is that when I mentioned reading to his teacher at parents evening, she wasn't aware that he wasn't keen. This made me think that his reading level and writing is around where it should be. I just know that he sometimes struggles with writing stories as he isn't used to the beginning / middle / end and all the extra information he needs to get in.

Queenofknickers Mon 03-Mar-14 23:25:03

Try the Alex Rider series - gripping. My 10yo DS would read all day and night if I let him but DS aged 8 only likes graphic books eg captain underpants and fact books like Guinness book of records. Ds8 would rather do something else than read. Some of it is horses for courses....

maizieD Mon 03-Mar-14 23:59:11

There's no law which says that everyone has to read for pleasure. Some people just don't. My DP stopped reading for pleasure when he was about 12 and didn't start again until he was in his mid forties. In the meantime he passed GCEs 'O' and 'A' level, got a degree in economics and held down a senior management job.

As long as he is doing OK at school with his English and you know he can read competently he should be fine.

I perfectly understand his distaste for being bothered with questions about what he has read. I would have loathed it, too. I feel sorry for modern children who just can't be left alone to get on and enjoy a book! It's the sort of analysis we didn't do until secondary school at least.

Lots of good suggestions for tempting him; just don't push it too hard.

iloverainbows Mon 03-Mar-14 23:59:14

I would ask myself is he where he needs to be at school for reading, comprehension and writing - i.e. are there any gaps? If so then the school need to be working on these with him. As regards reading at home I would look at why it matters so much to me........

Perhaps he just doesn't like reading???? I didn't read much when I was younger and now I hoover up books. Also reading isn't just being sat with a nose in a book - its everywhere - researching stuff on the internet, comics, newspapers, instructions for stuff like lego, cooking (reading the recipe) etc.

Honestly, I wouldn't push it - it really isn't worth arguing about. It sounds like you have everything in place to encourage learning etc - he has the tools, he will get there but let him do it in his own time.

TamerB Tue 04-Mar-14 01:25:16

Anthony Horowitz did it for mine.

mamachelle Tue 04-Mar-14 04:11:16

my 9yr old dd was like this until november when we went to the school book fair. she picked up a tom gates book and read it all that night! she has since begged for the rest of that book series which we bought, devoured those, her sisters wimpy kid collection and a huge selection of roald dahl and michael morpurgo.

turns out she likes a lot of pictures and comic book style writing.

the library has served us well too and we are lucky enough to have a mobile library service every fortnight that they love going to.

also, might be worth looking at the style of books in his band at school. dds band were dated and a bit off putting to her reading style.

Mashabell Tue 04-Mar-14 06:58:04

If he is
happy to look at books but they're annuals, encyclopedias, factual books rather than the Harry Potters
just get him more of those. U could suggest biographies goo.

My son hated reading with a passion until he discovered Dr Who books, the Beano and Asterix.

And please try to find time to keep reading to him at bedtime on a regular basis, for as long as he still seems to enjoy it. Sit so that he can see the page u are reading and can follow the text, even if he does so only intermittently.

DoItTooJulia Tue 04-Mar-14 07:14:36

Yy to. Alex Rider, Percy Jackson and similar. What about a kindle for him?

And yy to more of the books he does like too!

What about a subscription to How It Works?

mrz Tue 04-Mar-14 07:47:59

Is he actually taught reading at school or is reading something they just do ... he should be actively learning how to retrieve, analayse, deduce & infer during exploration of whole class texts not leaving these skills to chance.

I'm afraid you can't make a child enjoy reading just as you can't make them enjoy football or music no matter how good a role model you provide.

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