🏆Winner of the National Book Foundation's 2020 Innovations in Reading Prize🏆

All Hope is Not Lost: Getting Young Boys to Read

We’ve noticed a pattern in the students we serve at DIBS for Kids. You’ve probably noticed it too. Of course it’s not always the case, but generally boys are more likely than girls to shy away from reading.


To get to the bottom of this, I spent time speaking with a single mother of two, Leslie Sears, about her experiences with her second grade son who attends Millard Public Schools.

Her son spends the points he earns for “good behavior at school” to earn the privilege to read to his fellow students. Quite impressive.


However, this was not always the case for Leslie’s son. Leslie mentioned that her son didn’t hold a book close for a number of years. That’s when Leslie did her own research, tried some methods – some failed, some worked – and now her son is the definition of a bookworm.


Leslie holds four rules and tips when it comes to getting her son to stick with the books:

  1. The student only gets tv/screen time if he reads.

  2. Read with the student, let the student read to you, and make the event a bonding experience.

  3. Be a positive role model for your child by allowing them to see you read.

  4. Let them read whatever they want, never force them to read anything they find boring.

I had Leslie ask her son a few questions to get a better understanding of why and how often he reads:


Leslie: Do you like reading?
Son: Yes, but not THAT much.


Leslie: Why do you like it?
Son: When you read a book and it’s a picture book, you get to imagine what’s going to happen next. Who KNOWS what’s gonna happen?!


Leslie: What things do you like to read about?
Son: Legos and Minecraft. Dragon books. Information about Minecraft. Make believe about lions, dragons, and superhero people like Ant-Man.


Leslie: How often do you read?
Son: At school three times a day for fifteen minutes, at home two times a day for twenty minutes. (Leslie is not quite sure if these numbers are accurate.)


Leslie: Why don’t you like to read sometimes?
Son: Because sometimes I get bored and it’s not that fun. Because sometimes after you read a book for a long time you wanna do something else.


Yet, no matter how bored Leslie’s son might be one night after reading, you better believe he will be nose-deep in another book the following night.


As for recommendations to get your student on the book trail? Here are a few mentions from multiple parents across the city of Omaha.


1.) Dog Man, authored by Dav Pilkey, the same author that produced the wonderful Captain Underpants series.


dogman

2.) The Magic Tree House book series, authored by Mary Pope Osborne, holds an array of entertainment for all young students.

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3.) Skippyjon Jones book series, authored by Judy Schachner, holds similar value to The Magic Tree House by allowing young readers to find a topic they want to read about.

skippy

According to research on young boys and reading, here are some things your son might be naturally drawn towards, or that you may like to introduce to your daughter if she has not been exposed as much to these:

  • Informational texts, magazines, and newspaper articles
  • Graphic novels and comic books
  • Stories about their hobbies, sports, things they do or are interested in
  • Book series they can collect over time
  • Stories with escapism and with humor
  • Science fiction and fantasy stories


No matter what your young student thinks of reading right now, I highly recommend trying some of the tactics Leslie has provided and seeing if the books listed above strike a passion with your young student.

It worked for Leslie and her son, why couldn’t it work for you and yours?

 


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Hi y’all, my name is Eric Moses and I am a nerd to the fullest extent. And no, that’s not a bad thing. My love for reading came at an early age with a popular series called Harry Potter (you might have heard of it). Now, at the age of 26, I do “adult” things. Along with my day job and side hustle, I also coach boxing (all ages) at Adams Community Center in North Omaha.

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