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Turn Off the Screen and Open a Book: A Parent's Challenge with a YouTube-Obsessed Child

A parent seeks strategies to ignite a love of reading in their 8-year-old son, who currently prefers video games and YouTube.

Hey MJ,

I'm looking for some effective ways to encourage my 8-year-old son to develop an interest in reading. Right now, he's much more inclined toward video games and YouTube. Interestingly, he shows curiosity in reading my personal text messages, which got me thinking: maybe I could use that to my advantage? Perhaps incorporating excerpts from books into texts might be a creative way to pique his interest in reading.

I'd love to hear any suggestions or strategies that have worked for others in similar situations. How can I make reading as engaging for him as the digital entertainment he's so drawn to?

Thanks for any advice you can provide.



Dear Anonymous,

Fostering a love for reading in your 8-year-old son, who currently shows a stronger preference for video games and YouTube, can be a fun and rewarding challenge. Utilizing his existing interests and incorporating creative strategies can make reading a more appealing activity for him.

Since he shows interest in your text messages, this indicates a curiosity for reading that can be expanded. You could start by sending him fun, age-appropriate text messages with short excerpts from interesting books or funny, engaging stories. This could pique his interest and make him curious about the stories behind these snippets.

Incorporate reading materials related to his favorite video games or YouTube channels. Look for books, graphic novels, or magazines that tie into these interests. The familiarity of the characters or themes from his favorite digital media can make the transition to reading more appealing.

Establishing a daily reading routine can also be helpful. Create a cozy and inviting reading nook where he can relax and enjoy books. You might consider a daily "quiet time" where everyone in the family engages in reading, demonstrating that it's a valued and enjoyable activity.

Leading by example is a powerful tool. Share your reading experiences with him, talk about the books you enjoy, and show enthusiasm for reading. This can naturally stimulate his interest.

Leverage technology in a positive way. Explore e-books and interactive reading apps that are designed for children. These platforms often make reading engaging and interactive, sometimes incorporating elements of games, which he might find enjoyable.

Giving him the freedom to choose what he reads is crucial. Involve him in selecting books at the library or bookstore. Allowing him to have a say in what he reads will make him feel more invested in the activity.

The goal here is to make reading a delightful and engaging experience, not a task or a chore. By approaching this with creativity and patience, you're likely to see a gradual increase in his interest in reading.

Kenbe la,



In 2020, the "Badass Black Girl" book series author M.J. Fievre began receiving correspondence from a varied audience, including parents, young adults, and teens. Fievre, an established author and speaker, is known for her insightful engagement with themes relevant to these demographics. The communication, primarily through Facebook or the Badass Black Girl inbox, revolves around topics covered in her books and public talks. These interactions display a rich tapestry of experiences and viewpoints, highlighting the author's impact on her readers.

“Hey, MJ” is a platform created to foster a meaningful connection between M.J. Fievre and her readers. It offers a forum for open dialogue, personalized advice, and the sharing of collective experiences. The platform's effectiveness is rooted in Fievre's expertise as an author and speaker. Her work, particularly in the "Badass Black Girl" series, showcases her deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by her audience. Her background as an educator and her commitment to empowering young voices further enhance her ability to offer relevant and empathetic responses.

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