Have you ever wondered what to do to get your boys interested in reading? I have one avid reader and one who prefers not to read whenever possible. By having these two extremes, I have learned a thing or two that may help you out. Here are my top 5 tips for getting boys to read followed by our book list of sure-fire boy pleasers!
- Read aloud to them often – From the time my boys we old enough to sit up I was holding them in my arms reading to them. As they began to toddle, I took them to the library for story time. Now at age 10 and 7 they still love for me to read to them. We have read MANY adventure stories, historical fiction books and classics together over the last year. This fosters a love for good books and will encourage even the most reluctant reader to enter the story with you, especially since he doesn’t have to do the “work” of reading.
- Let them choose books about their interests – I once read about a lady who had each of her kids pick books from certain categories each time they visited the library (i.e. one fiction, one non-fiction, one historical, one science book, etc. ) I thought this was a great idea but when I tried it out on my boys, I met with resistance. My oldest only wanted to choose mystery books and my youngest son was set on picture books or Dr. Seuss. I finally gave up on the “great idea” and decided to just be happy that they were reading. I have plenty of time to expand their horizons in literature as they grow. Right now, I just want them to learn to love reading.
- Have a reading hour each day – Every day that we are able, we have a quiet hour where my daughter naps and the boys are each to find a spot to rest or read. I have found that my reluctant reader would rather read than nap so I work this to my advantage. I give him the option to lie quietly on his bed or read. At first, we started with picture books for him to look at and now he is reading his own chapter books.
- Offer incentives for reading – Most boys love competition and my boys are no exception. We sign up for the summer reading program at our local library and the boys have been highly motivated to read more because they know that they will be rewarded for every hour they read with a sticker. They also receive prizes for each certain benchmark levels such as 10 hours, 20 hours read, etc. I personally gave them a reading goal that was appropriate for their abilities and explained that if they reach their goal, we will go to a water park with Daddy at the end of the summer. During the school year, we participate in Pizza Hut’s Book It! program. The kids get a free personal pan pizza each month that they meet their reading goals from October to March. Enrollment is open now for grades K-6. Be sure to sign up. We also participate in the Read to Succeed program each year. This program provides a free theme park ticket to kids who reach a set reading goal. I love that homeschoolers get a free teacher ticket for participating. This one is not open for registration yet, but will probably open sometime in the fall for enrollment.
- Remember that each child is unique and don’t compare – My husband and I are both avid readers and our first child fell right into that groove, reading by the time he was 4.5. Our second child has a gifting more toward the math and science areas.He was not interested in reading and after much pushing and cajoling, he finally got reading at the end of first grade, aged 7. At first, I had a hard time accepting that he may never LOVE to read. I had to pray about it and start focusing on explaining to him the reasons why he MUST Learn to read. We discussed the importance of knowing God’s will for our lives and receiving guidance from the Scriptures. We talked about having a job and family one day and the importance of reading to equip him for those future roles. I also began to PRAY for my son as suggested by a conference speaker, Deb Bell. My youngest is just beginning to read chapter books now as he prepares to start second grade, but he is still not begging to read a book. This is OK! We are all created differently and have interests and giftings in different areas. I try not compare my sons but trust that God knows best. I try to challenge them to the best of their abilities, but realize that each child is unique.
Here are some of my boys favorites:
- Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne
- Hardy Boys mysteries by Franklin W. Dixon
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B White
- The Adventures of Tintin by Herge
- Geronimo Stilton Series by Geronimo Stilton
- The Bobbsey Twins series by Laura Lee Hope
- Sugar Creek Gang books by Paul Hutchens
- The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
- The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
- Swift Rivers by Cornelia Meigs
- The Journeyman by Elizabeth Yates
- The Secret of the Sealed Room by Bailey MacDonald
- Walk the World’s Rim by Betty Baker
- Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry
- Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard
- Catfish Bend books by Ben L. Burman
This is just a start. We have read many more than we can name here. I hope that you find some great titles that you can enjoy with your boys this summer. I would love it if you could share some of your favorites in the comments section. Click on the Blog Cruise Graphic below to read more of my crewmates ideas about Summer Reading for Boys.