He won't read

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
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, www.cool-reads.co.uk, for 10-15 year olds, reviews books by asking "How easy was it to get stuck into this book?"

Please email questions to SNExtra@tes.co.uk 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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