Getting Boys To Read

I’ve always been a reader.

I can remember being a little girl and when I was really good, my dad would “reward” me by taking me on a trip to the public library.

It was such a treat…being surrounded by words.

It would always take me an hour or so to narrow down my book selections to the alloted number I could check out.

So…I have always wanted to pass along my love of reading to my kids.

I read to Mo when he was in my belly. By the time he was born, I had purchased more children’s books for him than new outfits.

Nighttime reading was part of our bedtime routine since he was a toddler.

But, for some reason, as he got older, he didn’t seem to LOVE reading. He would sit still for a few moments, but seconds later he would beg to go play basketball.

I tried to take him to the library, but he was more interested in running sprints up and down the book aisles than checking out books.

I started to wonder if a joy for reading was a learned behavior or innate one.

Did I need to put as much effort into teaching Mo to read as I did teaching him to shoot a basketball, clean up his room, and say “please” and “thank you”?

I grew really frustrated at his lack of zeal for the written word.

Our house was filled with books, but his passion and time was dedicated to sports.

I wanted him to read bc he chose to and enjoyed it, not bc I MADE him.

I decided to incorporate his love of sports with reading. I bought some sports oriented books and that seemed to help. However, it always took major coaxing from me to pick a book up and put down his basketball/baseball/soccer ball.

Another thing that really inspired him was reading to his brother. He loved sitting with B before his bedtime and reading book after book. I sort of think part of this was just a ploy to stay up later, but hey….whatever works!

Mo reading to B at night became a daily ritual. All 3 of us enjoyed it!

James Patterson recently wrote a great article for CNN regarding reading and boys. Here are some of my fave points that might help you and your little reader:

First, try to understand that boys can be a little squirrelly when it comes to reading, and what’s squirrelly about them needs to be praised and encouraged.

Boys should be made to feel all squishy inside about reading graphic novels, comics, pop-ups, joke books, and general-information tomes — especially the last. GuysRead.com has categories such as “Robots,” “How to Build Stuff,” “Outer Space, but with Aliens,” and “At Least One Explosion.” It’s a wonderful site for finding books that will turn boys on to reading.

Teachers and school administrators might want to consider this: in many schools, there’s a tendency not to reward boys for reading books like “Guinness World Records” or “Sports Illustrated Almanac” or “The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll.”Too often, boy-appealing books are disproportionately overlooked on recommended reading lists.

Big mistake. Tragic mistake. Avoidable mistake. It’s all about attitude. If your kids’ school library isn’t a boy magnet, the school probably needs to check its attitude.

The best way to get kids reading more is to give them books that they’ll gobble up — and that will make them ask for another. Yes, it’s that simple. 1 + 1 = 2. Kids say the No. 1 reason they don’t read more is that they can’t find books they like. Freedom of choice is a key to getting them motivated and excited. Vampire sagas, comics, manga, books of sports statistics — terrific! — as long as kids are reading. Should they read on e-tablets? Sure, why not? How about rereading a book? Definitely. And don’t tell them a book is too hard or too easy. “Great Expectations”? Absolutely. “Finnegans Wake”?Well, maybe not. And remember, books can be borrowed free at libraries.

Here are some great reading resources and sites to even get FREE BOOKS:

ReadKiddoRead.com, GuysRead.com, and Oprah.com’s Kids Reading List are excellent resources. The American Library Association and the Young Adult Library Services Association have recommendations for terrific books, easily found by searching “ALA reading lists.”DropEverythingandRead.com has a “Favorite D.E.A.R. Books” tab on its home page. Free or low-cost books for schools are available (while supplies last) at ReadKiddoRead.com, FirstBook.org, andReadertoReader.org.

Let’s get our boys reading!!!

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