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He won't read

Olivia O'Sullivan, assistant director, Centre for Literacy in Primary Education

Q My 12-year-old son can read but never picks up a book. How can I persuade him to read?

A This is a familiar question. A recent survey found that, in the UK, only a small percentage of 14-year-olds had a favourite author or book. Research also shows that children and young people who can read but don't are often boys. And, the less a child reads, the more difficulties reading for school work may present.

I have a few suggestions but no magic solutions. Any kind of reading is better than none. Magazines (for example, football fanzines), newspapers and the internet can provide a great deal of reading material. You could find some that are linked to your son's interests.

Websites linked to popular authors and books - such as the Harry Potter series or the author Darren Shan - provide lots of related reading and perhaps may encourage your son to try the books.

There is also a growing number of graphic novels - for example you can buy The Hobbit in this form.

You may be able to borrow audio books on CD from your local library: listening to books read aloud gives access to the language and worlds of texts. If he agrees, you could also read aloud to your son.

Lastly,, for 10-15 year olds, reviews books by asking "How easy was it to get stuck into this book?"

Please email questions to or write to TES Extra for Special Needs, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London ElW lBX.

Neither writer can correspond with readers.

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