There are several ways you can help your son get excited about reading. However, ask yourself a few questions: What has changed for him recently? Is the fact he does not 'like to' read, or just that he feels interested in something else? Are there some 'homework' ideas that you can help him with? Can you encourage him to view kids magazines, joke books, comics, or even some websites or games that promote reading? Find something that he is interested in: find a book about his interest; whether it be about animals, space or sports there are many topics to choose from.
You mention that he is not at his level for his grade. Try talking with your teacher and learn about some different strategies that the school has in place. Many schools have a 'reading buddy' system. Children in 4th and 5th grades go to the kindergarten or 1st grade rooms and read to them. There is a lot of research out there to prove that kids helping kids and kids encouraging kids positively in an academic setting; have great results. Some schools are involved in the 'book it' program with restaurants. The kids have to read at home a certain amount of books or time, and then each month they hand that in, they can earn a free meal token. Other classrooms have a drawing for the kids participating, and they can earn some cool items for themselves.
You may even consider setting up your own system or even building some reading time into your day; each day. He will see that you are reading and you find this important. Read with him 20 minutes before bed time. Have him choose a chapter book from his library or your local library, and read one chapter before he goes to sleep. This can provide and promote a good relationship with your son and give you good quality time with him and help him to relax at the end of a busy day.
Also consider getting an eye examination for your son. It could be that he is not able to see the words. There may be another reason why your son seems to not be at his level, therefore, talking with the teacher to assess him can also be helpful to rule out a learning disability.
You are a concerned parent and asking for help is the best thing that you can do for your son. Keep reaching out and asking what you can do. If you feel you need to talk to someone, please know you can call the Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000. We have counselors available 24/7 and we talk with kids and parents about various issues. Take care, and let us know if our suggestions were helpful.
Sorry to hear that your son is having a hard time with this.
I think the best thing is to try to get him excited about reading rather than making reading a chore. Take him to the library and help him find books he's interested in - some that you'll read to him and some that he'll be able to read to you (with your help). Your librarian should be able to help you find both of those.
You can also set up some kind of incentive system for him - let him put a marble in an empty jar every time he reads a book (or reads for 5 minutes, or reads a page...whatever's motivating to him). When the jar is full he earns a prize (going out to lunch with you, buying a new book at the bookstore, etc).
Of course his teacher should also be able to give you some ideas of how you can support what she's doing in the classroom with him. Does she have a list of site words she could give you? Are there books he's reading in class that you could have copies of to keep at home?
My final idea is to set him up with HeadSprout. My son did Headsprout in kindergarten and really liked it. It may feel too young for your first grader but you could do the free trial to find out. I'll post the link below.
I work as a tutor for young children. I suggest you get a sight word reading list from your child's teacher and make flash cards. These are words that don't follow the regular phonics rules and MUST be learned. Then, I'd get some basic phonics and comprehension workbooks. Today, they can be found at dollar stores. My favorite for school related things is THE DOLLAR TREE. Start slowly having him learn the short vowel sounds, then proceed to the long ones.. the ones that say their names.. i.e. bEad,
kIte. Then, use your local library to find simple books that he can be successful with. GOOD LUCK! Most of all.. make it fun!
GET THING TO READ THAT HE LIKE ( TRAINS,SPORT,ANIMALS,ECT...) YOU READ A PAGE THEN LET HE READ ( REMEBER TO LET THEM READ AT THEIR PACE ) YOU'LL SEE THAT EVEN IF HE READ A LINE OR TWO HE DID IT, MY MIDDLESCHOOL STILL LIKE WHEN WE READ TOGETHER , NOW WE READ A CHAPTER EACH