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.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today