Let’s face it. Poor readers stress about school, tend to have lower confidence outside of school and often grow up with the intention of quitting their education as soon as they are allowed (by the state, mom or dad).
And where does that leave them?
If you’re a parent with a boy who doesn’t like to read, you are probably desperately seeking ways to inspire him to pick up a book.
How to encourage boys to read: start with the obvious
There are certain genres of books your son might enjoy. One mom told me that her reluctant reader really liked books with talking animals. They weren’t easy to find, but she worked hard to keep him in a steady supply until he became an independent reader. If your son likes one book, find out why and hunt down more of the same.
If your boy likes comic books, take regular trips to the comic book store. Try a subscription to a magazine. The stories are short and there are lots of pictures. Video game fanatics might be more willing to read stories online. Download books for your gamer to read on his computer. This article has a list of websites where you can get books for children online. Some of them are read aloud, but others are digital downloads.
How to encourage boys to read: stoop to bribery
One great way to encourage your son to read is to let him watch movies that are based on books--after he’s read the book. There are some great books for kids that were made into movies:
- Harry Potter (There are eight of these. This could keep your son reading all year.)
- The Narnia Series
- Star Trek
- Star Wars
- The Lightning Thief (And other Percy Jackson and the Olympians novels)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events
- The Wizard of Oz
- The Golden Compass
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- The Fault in Our Stars
- Charlotte’s Web
Some of the books on this list may be too challenging for your reader. If that’s the case, choose the abridged or graphic version if it’s available. Usually, the graphic version of a novel is shorter, and of course, children love the artwork that illustrates these timeless stories.
Break your reading challenge into manageable chunks, and your son will be more likely to get through the whole book. For example, give him a gold star when he finishes a chapter. That way, he can see tangible results as he works toward his goal.
One caveat: Be careful not to make the experience punitive by constantly reminding him that he doesn’t get the prize if he doesn’t read the book. Let him be in charge of his own destiny. If he chooses to forgo the prize, let that be up to him.
How to encourage boys to read: go back a few years
If your son is willing to keep his nose in a book for younger children, he will get all the practice he needs, simply because he is reading. Reading for enjoyment will advance his skills faster than powering through a book that is too hard for him. After all, that’s how his classmates became good readers—mastering easy books and then moving on to harder ones. What you are giving your late bloomer is the gift of taking all the time he needs.
And finally, don’t stop reading aloud. Choose books that you think your son could read by himself. Spend time reading to him before he goes to bed, but stop when you get to the most exciting part in the chapter. Lay the book on his nightstand and let him know that it’s now time for lights out. Except, of course, if he wants to finish the chapter on his own.
Leave a comment! Is your boy a reluctant reader? Share your own stories about what worked for you.