Tag Archives: Readers

Boys Don’t Like to Read

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Recently I have talked with many parents of boys who are lamenting the fact that their boys don’t like to read. In general, as a librarian, I find this to be true. I raised three boys myself. One of them is still a reader at age 25. My oldest son loved to read, but was turned off in Middle School by the Accelerated Reader program. The youngest of the three was an excellent reader, but just didn’t like it. Of course, I tried to influence all of them to read, but no matter what, this is not always a battle that can be won.

So how do we get these boys to read? I really believe that it is important to find the right books for them.

My youngest son latched onto books by Gary Paulsen. He loved the adventure he found in the Hatchet series. Thankfully, he had a sixth grade teacher that allowed him to read nothing by Paulsen all year! He even wrote him a letter.

Reading needs to be fun, interesting, and enjoyable. I have found that boys, in general, read boy books. Girls ( subject for a future blog) will read just about anything. So just what will entice boys to read? I’ve thought about this long and hard and come up with the following list:

  • Superheros
  • Underwear
  • Gross subjects
  • Scary books
  • Animal books
  • Sports
  • Survival stories
  • Graphic Novels
  • Humor (especially if it includes underwear)

With this list in mind, here are a few of the favorites in my elementary school library.

ABC Superhero

I can’t keep ABC Superhero in the library. The pictures are appealing to all ages and I use it to teach alliteration. We are on our 3rd copy because the students have literally worn it out! Recommended for ages 5-8.

Captain Underpants

The Captain Underpants series is filled with potty humor. I, personally, don’t see the attraction, but then, I am a girl and a grown-up. 8 – 12 year olds seem to love this series.

Melvin Beederman

Another series involving both underpants and superheros is Melvin Beederman.What could be better? While this series is written on about a 3rd grade level, I find that ages 8-11 love it. Greg Trine is also the author of several other series that will appeal to this age group.

Really Really Gross Jokes

All kids love jokes and these are really really gross. Beware though, children will be making up jokes of their own after reading this and they will not always make any sense. Just laugh…

Scary books for the younger set include these and many others.

therewasanoldmonster dogzilla hiccups

goingtoeatyou

Dragonbreath

bunnicularab

Slightly older boys will enjoy both the Dragonbreath and Bunnicula series.

Don’t worry! As their reading improves, their taste may also, but now that I think about all of the adult men I know….Oh well, boys will be boys!

Creating Readers

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As a school teacher-librarian (media specialist), I often find myself trying to find just the right book for a student. Many times I have seen a student that did not like to read suddenly get turned onto reading when they connected with the “right” book. My first two children loved to read for as long as I can remember,  but my third one was a hard sell. It took several years to get him to  actually read a book for pleasure. Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, was the book that did it. Fortunately, his 6th grade teacher was willing to let him read everything Paulsen ever wrote. Unfortunately, his love of reading does not continue today.

What can we do to influence children to become life-long readers? I do not ever remember not reading. Reading is so much a part of my life that not a day goes by that I do not read for pleasure as well as to learn. I have 2-3 books going at any given time. I actually panicked last summer when I was invited to enjoy a beach house for the week and I did not have a stack of books on hand! It was Sunday and the library was closed. When I was growing up, there was no library nearby, but I dearly loved the bookmobile. The screeching of the tires was music to my ears. I remember loving Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, The Tales of Uncle Remus,  Pollyanna, The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew and many others. I combined my love of music with the book Oliver and the soundtrack  from the movie. I cried my way through My Friend Flicka and literally devoured my mother’s monthly selection of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. I always loved when a Mrs. Pollifax mystery was included. There were times when I would search the house for something new to read. One day, in the far reaches of a cabinet, I ran across The Sensuous  Couple. I read it cover to cover in one day and put it right back where I found it! I couldn’t believe my parents did any of that!

So why am I still a reader and my son is not? What can I do to help my students become readers? Is there some gene that some of us have that makes us readers? I’m going to keep working to connect my students with the right books in any way that I can. Currently, I have begun using Edmodo, an educational social media platform, to have students write book reviews and encourage each other through comments. Tomorrow, I am starting a group that will create video book trailers to share with others. We’ll see what else the future holds!

Hatchet My Friend Flicka Mrs. Pollifax

Many of these books have undergone a facelift since my childhood!

Bobbsey TwinsUncle RemusMike Mulligan