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:
- Gross subjects
- Scary books
- Animal books
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!