How to Encourage Boys to Read

encourage boys to read

Research shows that boys are less likely to enjoy reading than girls. But if you have both at home, chances are you already knew that!

Reading is essential for successful learning and development. But with endless distractions like video games, TV and peer pressure, many young children, especially boys, are simply not reading as much as they should.

So how can parents get their boys to read? And most importantly, how can parents get them to actually enjoy it?

Ask yourself, what is your son genuinely interested in?

By the time your child is of reading age, he would have already developed his own interests about certain things in the world. Whether they love sharks, pirates, motorbikes or monsters, there are literally thousands of books to indulge their interests.

Reading stories or facts that focus on their favourite subjects makes the reading experience more fun, interesting and engaging. Let your son choose his next book to read or surprise him by picking out books you know will pique his interest.

Choose the best time and place for reading

The most common time for reading is in the late evenings when your child is tucked in and ready to go to sleep. But this may not work for every child.  Experiment with different times in the day, like after school or just before breakfast on the weekends. If your son has a natural love for being outside, try finding a comfortable place in the backyard or the local park to read together.

Find books with positive male role models

Whether it’s a boy on an adventure with a giant peach or a classic superhero out to save an entire city, choosing stories with positive male role models can get young boys excited about reading.

Even boys as young as three can appreciate a story with a good super hero. Stories like Spiderman, James and the Giant Peach and the Harry Potter series can also help boys gain a good understanding of positive values, such as perseverance, friendship and the power of believing in oneself.

Be a bit cheeky with your book choices

Fart jokes, burping and the glory of all things gross; it’s no secret that boys are delighted by offbeat subjects! Author Andy Griffiths, who’s sold over four million children’s books worldwide, explains that many boys enjoy books that let them laugh about squeamish situations without having to do them themselves.

Griffiths explains, “Boys can slightly associate books as a feminine product, and unfortunately books then gets pushed away. One of the ways I got around that was to write about characters that do outrageous things or see themselves as rebels.”

It doesn’t have to just be books!

At the end of the day, reading is reading, no matter what it is. Magazines, comic books or trading cards can all encourage boys to read, especially since boys tend to be visual learners. Use road signs, posters and recipe ingredients to get your boys reading, and don’t forget to praise them when they do.

With a vast variety of genres available to young readers, it’s always important to remember that reading truly is for everyone. For more reading tips, see Why Your Child Might Be a Reluctant Reader (And How to Change It).

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program for children aged 3-13. With a comprehensive range of self-paced lessons and games, the program is a highly interactive and fun way to build your child’s reading skills for school.

2 thoughts on “How to Encourage Boys to Read

  1. I have a lot of boy book series in my grade two class. They love Boy vs.Beast, Zac Power, Captain Underpants (although the contrived spelling in this is a problem for me), Hey Jack, the 13 story tree house books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Fly Guy and etc. Even though done of these are difficult they love them because of the humor and illustrations (and spy/fantasy themes). They also seem to like the Tashi books. We also have a program in the school where we have males reading in the classroom to break the stereotype of males not liking to read.

  2. Boys love it when males read with them, for them and model reading alongside them. Where ever possible my husband joins in the reading with my son and they love sharing especially ‘The Kaboom Kid’ and ‘The Max Rumble kids’ – both cricket boy stories, some which are even written by current cricket players.
    Admittedly, my hubby rarely gets home before 7 and my 7 year old is tired by then, so making time together is tricky for us, and no doubt for other families. But anything that is made to be fun can be rewarding with effort and perseverance.
    Another tip is to look at factual books in areas that are of interest to your son. We love reading about tales of great mythology, Orca Whales, mountain bike trails, fishing and cricket. Look at the public library for such factual books which nowadays hardy move off the shelves. The librarians will love you and your sons interest will be re-activated. Books with comic pictures are also good for boys as too many words all in a row, page after page is off putting! Boys, like girls, love to study in detail illustrations which provide like a road map to the text and the story. Don’t dismiss these types of books. Studying the illustrations on a page is a fundamental reading skill.

    All food for thought!


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