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Encouraging boys to read

By Amber Covington

Rowan Public Library

Are you looking for ways to connect a young man with a book?

There are several things to keep in mind. As a parent or caregiver, we spend a lot of time with our children. Finding ways to connect a boy with a book is a way to get him interested in reading.

Talk or discuss various topics that interest the child and find books about those things. All children look up to adults in their lives and generally model their habits after those adults.

Parents and caregivers are the main contact with children and are the leading role models to build strong readers. Boys are more likely to mirror the actions of a male figure in their lives.

Find a way for fathers, stepfathers, uncles or grandfathers to spend time reading with a boy. Building a boy’s reading interests can take form in a variety of ways with the help of a family member. Always visit the local public library for reading materials and ideas or suggestions.

Growing up in a world with fast-changing digital trends, online games, gaming consoles, computers and other technology devices is a major part of a boy’s life.

Books may not be the best way to get a boy’s attention. Magazines, websites, blogs, newspapers or comic books may attract them better. The most important thing is to let them begin to read material that interests them to build their reading habits.

Often, women are the main people boys see reading or who teach them to read. As humans we all like to follow someone who looks like us.Do not be discouraged if you are a single mother. Continue to spread joy in reading and encouragement. It means more than you think.

Men are great resources in young boys’ lives and can make a big difference in their reading habits. Boys see men reading magazines or newspapers. That is OK. Encourage boys to pick up those if that is what makes them comfortable.

Pam Allyn, educator and author, has several suggestions to encourage parents, caregivers and educators to encourage reading in boys of all ages. Developer of the READ model, Allyn believes boys can become lifelong readers. The acronym stands for R — ritual, E — environment, A — access and D — dialog.

The model encourages parents and caregivers to establish a ritual for reading daily. Set aside time for reading as a family. Creating an inviting environment is a way to set the mood. Establish a reading corner or special bean bag in an area that is comfortable.

Be sure to provide access to a variety of books, ebooks, magazines, newspapers, comic books or baseball cards.

It is also a good idea to expose readers to a variety of genres, authors and reading levels to boost a child’s reading comfort. The public library is a great place to check out books weekly or to use your library card to download ebooks.

It is critical for parents and caregivers to talk with their children during and after reading. Have your child discuss his or her likes and dislikes or express opinions about what they are reading.

There are several resources discussing the READ model and other reading practices from Allyn. Check out “Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys: How to Engage Boys in Reading Ways That Will Change Their Lives.”

Looking for ways to encourage a boy to read? Check out the following books at your local library branch.

  • “Serving Boys Through Readers’ Advisory,” by Michael Sullivan;
  • “Get Those Guys Reading! Fiction and Series Books that Boys Will Love” by Kathleen A. Baxter and Marcia Agness Kochel;
  • “Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read,” by Diane W. Frankenstein;
  • “Read With Me: Best Books for Preschoolers” by Stephanie Zvirin;
  • “Raising Passionate Readers: 5 Easy Steps to Success in School and Life,” by Nancy Newman.

Summer Reading Registration: Ongoing. Three age categories: Children (newborns-rising fifth-graders), Teens (rising sixth- through 12th-graders), and Adults (ages 18+). In addition to tracking reading hours, 2017 Summer Reading festivities include special programs and a variety of prizes. Contact your nearest branch for full details.

Baby Time: A highly interactive program for infants up to 23 months with a parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. June 12-July 7. Headquarters, Wednesday, 10 a.m.; East branch,  Mondays, 10 a.m.; South Regional, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.

Toddler Time: 18 to 35 months. Highly interactive, 30-minute program with a parent or caregiver. June 12-July 7 Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Tuesdays, 11 a.m.; South, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschool Time: Each program last 30-45 minutes. Doors close at 10:40 a.m.; 3- to 5-years-old. June 12-July 28. All at 10:30 a.m. — Headquarters, Tuesdays; East, Thursdays; and South, Mondays.

School age: Rising first through fifth graders; 45-60 minutes. Storytellers, educators and entertainers provide different programs each week for seven weeks. To enter the weekly prize drawing, “Reader Book Reviews” should be turned in before the program begins. Headquarters, Thursdays, 2 p.m. (Mad Science, June 16); East, Wednesdays, 2 p.m. (Down to Earth Aerials is June 21 at 10:30 a.m.); South, Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

Program schedule: June 12-16, Mad Science; June 19-23 Down to Earth Aerials; June 26-30, Piedmont Players; July 3-7, Ro & Mo Stories; July 10-14, Dan Nicholas Wildlife; July 17-21, Captain Jim; July 24-28, Lee Street theatre.

Cleveland: School-Age programs at Town Hall, 302 E. Main St., on Thursdays at 10 a.m. Patrons in Cleveland may report summer reading hours during the programs.

Teen Summer Reading: Welcome to the Team. June 12, 3:30 p.m., East Branch; June 13 at headquarters; and June 15 at South Rowan Regional. This summer is all about teamwork, so you’ll meet your group and get to know them by playing high-energy games. Snacks will be provided.

Weekly events for teens: Starting on June 12, each branch will have weekly programs that center on this year’s theme, “Build a Better World.” Programs will include a range of team-building activities, games and crafts.

After registering for summer reading, teens receive booklets to keep track of points earned by reading, attending teen library programs and completing activity challenges. Points can go towards winning prizes at the end of the summer.

Programs are all 3:30-5 p.m. East, Mondays; headquarters, Tuesdays; South, Thursdays.

Program schedule: June 12-15, teens meet with their groups; June 19-22, Amazing Race Scavenger Hunt; June 26-29, Water Balloon Catapults, build catapults and have a balloon war; July 3-6, Coloring With My Community, learn about art and its impact with Brittany Gaddis; July 10-13, Build a Better Bridge, complete the bridge and tower challenge; July 17-20, Mini Model United Nations, become an expert on a deadly zombie pandemic that threatens the world and stop the next outbreak; July 24-27, Quiz Bowl; July 28, National Teen Lock-in, 6:30-10:30 p.m. at library headquarters; permission slip required for teens to participate.

Adult Summer Reading: A Breath of Fresh Air. June 12, South Rowan Regional, China Grove. Brian Magi, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at UNCC, will discuss air quality science, air quality in the Piedmont, and what kind of effects climate change will have on the air we breathe. Topics will also include how citizen science is playing a role in learning about our atmosphere. This program is free and open to the public.

No-School Cinema: Captain America marathon, June 14, 1-8:30 p.m., South Rowan Regional, features “The First Avenger,” “Winter Soldier” and “Civil War.” All three films are rated PG-13 and have runtimes of, respectively, 124 minutes, 135 minutes, and 147 minutes.”The First Avenger” begins at 1 p.m.; “Winter Soldier” at 3:30 p.m., and”Civil War” at 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome; however, an adult must accompany children ages 13 and under.

Displays: Headquarters, music box collection (Jennifer Hands) and Plein Air art; East, “Build a Better World” summer reading celebration; South, stained glass.

Gallery at headquarters: Photographs and glass work by Maria Hall.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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