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How To Encourage Boys To Read
It can be hard to get boys to read. I know! Having come from a family of girls, all of us readers, always with a book (or two) on the go, it never occurred to me that my boys wouldn’t be readers in their own right. I assumed I would have “bookish” boys, and began buying books for them even before they were born!
But to my dismay, neither of my boys are big readers. They loved being read to at bedtime, running to pick out stories after bath, asking for favourites to be read over and over. My youngest still does. (Check out our list of 25 Forever Favourite Kids Books). But actual reading on their part is slim.
School didn’t make it any better. Learning to read wasn’t necessarily the problem, but getting them to practice every night was torture. Short attention spans, and a chore they didn’t like doing in the first place was a struggle. Add in some learning disabilities and it was almost a lost cause.
Research has shown that there are definite gender differences when it comes to reading. Girls typically score better in literacy tests than boys, they tend to read more than boys, and it also takes less time for girls than for boys learning to read. Boys tend to declare themselves “non-readers” far more than girls. (*source Me Read? A practical guide to improving boys’ literacy skills)
In most cases, it’s not necessarily that they can’t read, but that they don’t. Whether it’s due to being too busy, having shorter attention spans, or they simply just aren’t motivated or interested.
But it certainly isn’t impossible to get them to read! And even enjoy it! Here’s some suggestions on how to encourage boys to read.
Play To Their Interests
Play to their interests…if they are super into sports, have them read the Sports section of the daily newspaper, or magazines. Graphic novels and comics, illustrated books, humorous and non-fiction books are also high on the list of reading material boys tend to enjoy.
One of our favourites…the Harry Potter Illustrated Editions
Tie In With Video Games
My boys are both big gamers (and yes, this is still a bone of contention in our house). My youngest’s favourite video game is Overwatch.
During a parent meeting a few weeks ago, his teacher suggested finding any kind of reading material related to that video game. A quick search on Amazon, and lo and behold, short graphic novels featuring the Overwatch character origin stories!
You can get the whole series of Overwatch mini stories on Kindle for FREE. If you’re looking for more of a “book” format, you can get the hardcover series anthology!
When it comes to my teen, he’s into military history, and his favourite game is Call of Duty – World War II
A quick search of related books pulled up the Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual,
“Presented as an official combat-issued handbook owned by Private Ronald “Red” Daniels, the book pairs stunning original illustrations with an engaging narrative that showcases the statistics and history of the essential units, vehicles, weapons, and battlegrounds. This striking book also includes personal annotations and letters from Red and provides a first-hand look at various events from within the game. With Call of Duty®: WWII: Field Manual, fans will have a valuable aid as they fight through Axis-occupied Europe to victory.”
Tidbit: Turns out the author, Mickey Neilson, also worked on the Overwatch graphic novels!
It’s not too far of a stretch to check out other books about World War II.
Pair a Book with the Movie
This is where I have had the most luck getting my boys to read. We started with the Harry Potter series, reading the books outloud, taking turns. Once we completed a book, we would watch the movie together! Another super success was Ready Player One. I loved this because it included so many references to my own childhood!
Same with series, like Netflix series Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events and the books
While my boys will likely never be the voracious readers I dreamed they would be, trying some of these ways to encourage boys to read has made a difference in our family! Got any tips or strategies you would add to the list? Leave a comment below and let me know!
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