Mr. Gascon & child reading at Griffin's Martial Arts

What do martial arts and reading have in common? They both empower a person to be smarter, stronger, more confident. So what better place to promote reading than in a martial arts dojo/dojang?

Sensei Sean Griffin of Griffin’s Martial Arts in North Fort Myers, Florida has been promoting reading in his dojang and recently shared some photos of men reading with kids and older kids reading with younger kids. Check our FlickR page to see all the pictures.

We commend Sensei Griffin for his efforts. We’d love to see other dojos/dojangs rise to the challenge and encourage more men to read with kids. If your dojo is reading with kids, let us know about it by sharing your story here.

If you need some help to get started, here are a couple of lists of martial arts-related books that your dojo students might enjoy.

Gamsahabnida, Sensei Griffin!

During the past few weeks I’ve been combing through our family photos – both print and digital – looking for images of men reading – my son, my husband, my dad, cousins, friends, anyone reading a book or magazine or even a website. In the collection of 30 years or so of photos I found exactly TWO – both of my husband reading the Sunday comics with our son when he was very young.

This discovery – or lack thereof – stopped me in my tracks. Why? Because we are a family of readers. We have always had shelves and shelves of books in our home. My son started getting regular delivery of books from friends when he was 6 weeks old and he’s now 23. My husband and I are both readers. We’ve had book club meetings at my house. And through all these years we’ve never thought about this simple act of reading as an event worthy of capturing in an image. It made me think about how seldom I have seen images of people reading. The only places I can think of are libraries – with those big READ posters showing celebrities holding a book. Outside of libraries (and maybe schools) there are very few images of people reading. When and where is the last time you saw an image of someone reading?

The more I thought about this, the more I wondered about how we portray the things we value in our society today. We are bombarded with advertisements and TV shows containing images of skinny girls, beautiful skin, buff guys, and tasty foods. There are images everywhere of musicians, sports stars, movie stars, and things to buy. These ads make us value those qualities and items and want to be like those people in them.  Young people are especially swayed by these kinds of images.

So, I have to wonder if we create and display more positive images of people reading – especially of men reading – will seeing those images increase the value of reading in the eyes of the viewers? Could we get more boys to become readers if they see more images of men reading each day? Would attitudes about the value of reading change just by being surrounded with images of people  happily reading?

I think it is worth a try… so here’s your challenge. Create or capture an image of yourself  – or someone else – reading.  Put it up somewhere. Share it. Show it to kids. Post it here or email it to realmenreadwithkids@gmail.com. If you’re a man reading with kids, post it on our realmenreadwithkids FlickR site.

Can we improve the value of reading in the eyes of our kids, in the hearts of those reluctant readers, for a new generation?

We’ll never know if we don’t try. I dare you.

I came across this great post by July Berna this morning about why we should read picture books to older kids. She says:  “Picture books are seen as something for little kids, a minor step on to bigger and better things. I understand the pressure parents are under to keep their children moving forward academically. But letting go of picture books too early is not the answer.”

She goes on to explain how picture books can help even older kids understand complex or difficult topics such as illness, family relationships, etc.  She also cites a very important aspect of curling up with a book and reading with your kids at all:

“Then I’m reminded of a lesson I learned in my elementary education classes in college. The topic was reading to children, and all of the positives that can come from it. Someone questioned our professor, wondering how reading to an infant or toddler could do any good. I’ll never forget his answer. “A child who’s read to, even before he has any concept of a book, learns to associate the warm cozy feeling of being nestled in a parent’s arms with reading. For the rest of his life he’ll have positive feelings about learning and reading.” ”

Pushing kids into chapter books could actually turn them off of reading, if done too soon. Be aware of your child’s developmental level and interests, and always give them choice and control when reading for pleasure.

As role models and as readers with kids, using picture books, even with older kids can be a winner all the way around…

For more read the whole post at  GeekMom » Blog Archive » The Reason We Should Read Picture Books to Older Kids.

Today, October 7, 2010 is Jumpstart’s annual Read for the Record Day. This year’s book is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. If you’re a guy who read with kids today (The Snowy Day or any book or magazine or paper) , please share your story with us here – by posting a photo on our Photo/Video page, submitting a comment, or adding to our Share your Story page. Thanks and happy reading!

eBook Search Engine

Posted: October 6, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Here’s an eBook search engine that can help you find free eBooks – with the added bonus of browser plugins for IE, Chrome, and Firefox.

Most parents spend some time reading with their kids, but many of us may not know that how you read with your children is as important as whether you read with your children.  Here are a few tips on how to read with your kids:

  • Talk about the book with your child before reading it
  • Use an enthusiastic voice when reading aloud
  • Let your child ask questions about the book

(Source: Emergent Literacy by Ruth A. Wilson, Ph.D.)

In addition, these pointers will help your child begin to love reading. Making reading fun is especially important because the more enjoyable it is, the more a child will read. The more a child reads, the better reader he/she becomes.

  • Give kids Control and Choice in their reading selections
  • Make it fun, light, enjoyable
  • Use humor when appropriate
  • Keep the reading flow going – don’t bog down in decoding (sounding out words)
  • Ask questions during reading – about the meaning of  the story or parts of the story, rather than questioning about words and sounds of letters

Reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.

Tips for reading aloud – from Reading is Fundamental
Tips from kids for parents – Reading Rockets
Tips for teaching kids to enjoy reading – from Parent’s Choice

Find more tips, booklists, audiobook info, and research about boys and reading on the Resources for Readers page.

Welcome to Real Men Read with Kids! The goal is simple – to build a community of readers, one man at a time.  Kids – especially boys – need to see men reading. To develop a love for reading and a belief in reading as a valuable tool for learning, growing, enjoying life, and becoming a capable, empowered adult, kids need role models. And they especially need to see men as reading role models.

Whether you’re a dad, a grandpa, an uncle, a cousin, a teacher, a fireman, a doctor, a carpenter, a sensei, a minister, a biologist, a garbage truck driver or any caring adult man – you can show kids the joy and value of reading.

So here’s your chance! Be a real man. Grab a newspaper, a magazine, a book, a how-to manual, a laptop, an iPad, an iPod, an audiobook – anything you can read from or with – and then read it or listen to it with a kid.

Read with them, read to them, read beside them while they read something else, read while they play. Read silently, read aloud, read along, but mostly just read – be that role model. Be that real man! Five minutes a day can change a kid’s life forever!