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How to Get Boys to Read More

Does your son resist reading?  If so, this can be very frustrating because you want him to soar academically, and good reading skills are essential building blocks for other learning.  Boys crave action, movement, and video games.  You know--guy stuff. Sitting quietly to read a book does not come naturally.  In fact, it feels downright girly!

Statistics show that not only do boys read significantly less than girls, they read less well.  This is a trend that follows boys into adulthood.  On the reading portion of academic tests, boys are far less likely to score at the "advanced" level than girls.  To read the interesting results of the 2016 Scholastic study that analyzed the data on the disparities in reading between boys and girls, click Psychology Today's article here.

One major reason why boys, on average, do not enjoy reading is due to a lack of books geared toward their gender.  In elementary school, many teachers introduce read aloud chapter books like Junie B. Jones and Little House on the Prairie.  While these are sound classics, they don't appeal to boys as much as girls.  Flip through any Scholastic monthly book order from school and you will quickly see most chapter book selections are girl-centered--Magic Ponies, The Weather Fairies, The Babysitters Club, and Judy Moody, just to name a few.

For boys, the options are slim pickings.  Lego books, comic-esque books, and Harry Potter books brimming with witchcraft are scrapings from the bottom of the parent-approved barrel.  How can you get your son excited to read with these crap-tastic choices?

One way to motivate your son to read is to give him what a craves.  Over 100 million people are playing Minecraft--the build and survive video game.  I can't explain its appeal because I would rather be doing just about anything else, but kids and grown-ups  (particularly adult male nerds) alike love the engineering and crafting involved in this online world of creepers, villagers, and zombies.  Author, "Zack Zombie," has created an entire unofficial book series on Minecraft your son will LOVE.  First, the books are easy to read since each page is  not crammed with tiny text from top to bottom, allowing your son to breeze through it without feeling overwhelmed.  Despite each novel's simplicity, they are real page turners, with skillfully woven bridges between chapters.  The books follow the adventures of Zombie and his band of misfit friends, and each one stresses a moral, such as compassion, understanding, acceptance, and sacrifice.

 (Paid links)

Unlike other books targeting a specific age group, the Diary of a Minecraft Zombie series is appealing enough for kids of all ages--adults will get a good chuckle from them too.  Zombie is a middle-schooler who faces many of the same conflicts your son can relate to, including bullies and parental boundaries.

The best part is your son will be so captivated by this series, he will want to read every volume.  Once he exhausts the Zombie series, he can move on to Diary of a Minecraft Creeper  or Diary of a Minecraft Enderman.  They all follow the same format and are so entertaining, your son will develop a love for reading without even realizing it.

Not only do boys love adventure stories, but they embrace non-fiction more than girls.  Both genres collide in Lauren Tarshis' masterfully written I Survived series.  The author takes readers into the heart of historical disasters that are action packed!  Even though the eye witness accounts are fictionalized, the author has done extensive research on each topic and has visited most of the sites where her books are set.  Not only will your son find the stories compelling, but he will also learn valuable lessons in history.  A sampling of her books include surviving the Titanic, the Shark Attacks of 1916, Hurricane Katrina, the Battle of Gettysburg, the American Revolution, and so much more!

 (Paid link)

The publishers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid offer an engaging adventure series about a mouse named Geronimo Stilton.  Geared towards readers ages five and up, the Geronimo Stilton books contain pictures but are ideal for all elementary aged children.  These books appeal to girls as well as boys, particularly reluctant readers.  Here's what one mom had to say about the escapades of Geronimo Stilton:
This series has made my son a voracious reader.  He loves them!
 Will Geronimo Stilton be the bait to hook your son on reading?  You won't know until you try.

 (Paid link)
If your son loves fantasy but you are a good parent who doesn't want him lured to the dark side with magical tales, Erin Hunter is the author for you.  Hunter is a huge animal lover who has put her passion for furry critters into three jam-packed, bestselling series that kids age 8-12 will find addictive.

The Warrior series is about cats; the Survivors series focuses on dogs; and the Seekers saga centers on bears.  Pick one--you can't go wrong.  Your son will not be able to put them down. They are epic adventures sprinkled with fantasy, folklore, and mythology.  Here's a testimony from one happy parent:
My son is OBSESSED with these books.  He will read a book a day, sometimes more and begs me to buy the next set.  Going from being a child I had to force to read for 30 minutes a day to this is absolutely amazing.
My daughter is not a spendthrift and guards her money wisely, but she never hesitates to invest in a Warriors novel when she can't find it first at the library.  The phenomenal thing about Erin Hunter is that she never runs out of riveting plots.  Her latest book is every bit as strong as her first one.  She never produces something flimsy.  These books are solid, and your son will lose himself in them.

  (Paid links)

When it comes to motivating your son to read, it boils down to trial and error.  Take him to Barnes and Noble, or let him browse Amazon's online selections.  Pick one of the above books to buy him and then read it together instead of relying on him to tackle it alone.  Incorporate a reward system to encourage him.  Before you know it, he will be reading independently without you forcing him.


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