We all know how important reading is. It’s been drummed into us since we were little. The three ‘R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic) are still just as important as ever.
But what happens when you have a child who isn’t interested in reading? Let’s face it, our boys (and many girls) would much prefer to race around the yard in their tidy whities, screaming, ‘charge!’
I’ve been teaching for nine years now, and I can tell you this, reading isn’t a natural process. It takes plenty of practise for the mind to understand the concept, and it’s important to give our boisterous boys the best start.
So, how do we do that?
Reading doesn’t have to be taught sitting down! Here are some effective tips that can work wonders.
Read from birth
Reading should be viewed as a normal, everyday practise. Read to your boys from birth! The newspaper, or back of a cereal box are fine to start with. Babies hear the different intonations in your voice.
A male role model with a passion for books
Get a male role-model, or someone the boy has respect for (Dad, Grandpa, a family friend) to read to him. When he sees a male reading, it shows him that it’s not only okay to read, but it can be a wonderful thing.
Young boys are active and love to move. When teaching reading I use physical activities in the classroom. You can do the same at home.
Alphabet: use sticks, sand, water and paint brushes on the concrete, to write the letters and say the sounds.
Dramatic retell: Retell the stories through dramatization. Kids love this, especially when you’re the audience and they get the chance to make you laugh.
Art or Clay Modelling: Use clay to create the characters and scenes, backdrops to retell stories.
‘When a child is immersed in a story, their imaginations are free to run wild.’
Tell your boys why you are reading something, or why you’d like them to. Boys reading a recipe to you in the kitchen is a good one. They feel valued and helpful.
For older children, reading questions at school is an important part of their education. Practise this with them whenever you can. Homework is a great opportunity to look at reading and comprehension skills.
Add value to books
Find out what your son enjoys and offer them as special gifts.
Action ahead of emotion in plot
If a story is emotionally charged, boys may zone out. Identifiable characters who are action-driven, are more likely to keep him engaged.
Who doesn’t love a good laugh? Many children love humorous books. I get why, too. Paul Jennings, Andy Griffiths, these guys are great for the Primary School child.
Magazines and the internet
For older, reluctant boys, look for magazines of topics they are interested in. There are a host of online magazines, just like this one. Magazines are picture books for adults, full of colour and interesting, shorter stories. Rather than push them on your older child, just mention them, and make them readily available. Planting a seed is more effective with teenagers.
My little one had a horrible reaction to a RADOX body wash product the other day. And while people react to stuff, including things we deem healthy, the ordeal got me investigating. I needed to find out more about the ‘stuff’ that goes into the ‘stuff’ we put on ourselves, especially considering my wee one got a horrific rash all over her poor head and near her eye balls.
Revitalise, my left foot!
Here’s a bit about what I found.
“the mixture contains five individual perfume ingredients which can be strongly irritant and have been shown to cause a range of health problems in other
animals. Amazingly, this product also contains a sunscreen – to protect the product, not the person.”
Ex-squeeze me? Protect it from itself? What does this mean. I still can’t find information on why they would put sunscreen in a body wash to PROTECT IT FROM ITSELF, so if you have the answer, throw me a bone in the comments below.
I dug a little deeper into the Radox and body wash ingredient lists and learned about my new little friend, Methylisothiazolinone. It could be what caused the reaction…
“Methylisothiazolinone is a powerful synthetic biocide and preservative within the group of isothiazolinones, which is used in numerous personal care products and a wide range of industrial applications.
It is a cytotoxin that may affect different types of cells. Its use for a wide range of personal products for humans, such as cosmetics, lotions, moisturizers, sanitary wipes, shampoos, and sunscreens, more than doubled during the first decade of the twenty-first century and is proving to be a concern because of sensitization and allergic reactions as well as cell and nerve damage.” (Resource)
Really? Nerve damage, huh. The more I learn, the more I wonder: how are standards getting so low when it comes to what we put IN and ON our bodies? Who’s running this bloody fiasco?
Anyway, let’s be solution orientated.
After the incident, I’ve gone back to using the stuff I know is good. It’s not too hard to do. There are some great organic products on the market now, and they are easy to get your hands on. The Gaia range are great, can be found at Woolies, and although it’s expensive, it’s better than a burning eye ball.
My kids are obsessed with bubble bath, and no one’s had a reaction to the Organic Care range so far. It’s not really ‘organic’ but it will do the job until I find something better. Once again, let me know in the comments if you have a good one, please.
Lastly, this little escapade has finally got me doing something I’ve been wanting to do for years, and that’s looking into more natural beauty products/homemade recipes. Lately, I’ve realised that if it’s safe to eat, it’s probably better for your skin.
My daily skin beauty regime still consists of a cleaner, toner, and moisturiser, just as it did before … but with a twist. My skin has never felt so soft.
Turn on the tap, and wash your face. If you want to be clever, use purified water.
Water is best for your PH levels.
Apple Cidar Vinegar. Yep, you heard me. Just don’t get that baby near your eyes. Gently wipe it on with some cotton wool. Then wash it of with … you guessed it … water.
“Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has amazing health benefits and you can use it to treat skin problems such as: age spots, acne, pimples as well as other skin conditions. It contains the beneficial enzymes, bacteria, pectin and trace minerals that makes ACV so good for you.” (Resource)
Organic Coconut Oil. You can use it on its own, or pop a bit of Vitamin E in by piercing an actual vitamin and squeezing out the oil.
“Coconut oil is very good at hydrating skin. It sinks in deep, conditions, moisturizes, and softens skin. It isn’t pumped full of water or petroleum byproducts like many commercial cleansers or lotions either. Skin is kept clean by an oily substance called sebum.” (Resource)
I’m going to try my hand at a few other things and start making some slow and steady changes around here. My family might end up wiping their butts with tree bark, but whatever’s best, right?