Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting boys reading

I know what boys like.*
I've been following the website and tweets of a librarian whose speciality is helping boys become great readers. He's definitely an expert in what appeals to boys. Here, I've distilled (*cough* ripped off) some of his best ideas about how to make reading fun for boys.

Here's what boys like, and like to read about:

Gross stuff
Boys like things that are gross. Farts, and boogers, and burps and puke. Who knows why, but they do.

Boys like to read about violent things (wars, fighting).

As much as they like violent things, boys also naturally tend towards humorous books, including joke books.

Less talk…
If you’re going to talk to your son about reading, don’t lecture him and keep it short. Three minutes, as opposed to 15. If you want reading to be a fun activity for your son, more doing and less talking is the key.

…More action
Boys need to move. It may be difficult for some boys to sit quietly while you’re reading to them. Don’t be thrown off if he moves around the room while you’re reading – he’s still listening. In fact, it’s probably easier for him to listen while he’s moving.

Engaging physically with books
Get a bunch of books, and pile them up. Let your son root through the pile of books until he finds what he wants to read. Let him engage physically with the books.

Boys need to have choice in their topic, for both writing and reading. Let them choose something that’s interesting to them (as opposed to what you think they should be reading).

Boys often read for a purpose, not just for entertainment. They like to read about facts. Sports. Computers. History. Music. Jokes. Hobbies. Magic. Biographies.

Books with pictures (and facts) such as reference books, can be excellent for boys.

Boys love action, and who is more active than a superhero, who spends his days fighting crime? You can talk to your boy about good vs. evil; symbolism (why does Batman dress like a bat?); ethical dilemmas faced by superheroes; and you can encourage your child to invent and write about his own superhero.

The Internet
Many boys naturally love computers, and there are tons of websites that encourage reading. Boys love to research things, for instance, so Google may be an excellent reading tool. As well, any Internet game that has rules and explanations that a boy has to read in order to use, will get him reading. And e-mailing a friend encourages a kid to read and to write.

For more information about boys and reading, activities for active boys and boys who love video games, and superhero books that aren’t comics, please check out the topic "boys" on the right-hand side of this blog.

Also, check out Mike McQueen's excellent website, Getting Boys to Read. (That's where these ideas came from, mostly.)

In an upcoming post, I'll be going through the above categories and giving you book suggestions for them. If you have any book suggestions, please post them in the Comments. Thanks!

*So, did you get that 80s music reference? Please tell me you did. Oh, I'm so old! If you didn't, check out the music video. Has absolutely nothing to do with this blog, or post, mind you, but there you go.

1 comment:

Mike McQueen said...

Thank you Joyce for the compliments and spreading the word about I love your web site too!