Research shows that boys are less likely to enjoy reading than girls. More boys than girls struggle with reading and writing at school and boys are more likely to say they don’t spend any time reading outside the classroom.
So what can parents do to encourage their boys to read and to enjoy books? Here are our Top Tips:
1. Make reading active
Boys thrive on activity, so incorporate this into reading time. Get your sons to “act out” what they have read, and pretend to be book characters – you can join in too! For younger children, after reading a book, draw the characters together, or even make puppets and put on a show.
In Cardboard Robot, Monkey doesn’t want to play – can Robot change his mind? This picture book with press out pieces is interactive fun for new readers. Nosy Crow Publishing’s fabulous ‘Mega Mash Up’ series combine popular children’s interests in fun and interactive stories. You can even add your own illustrations!
2. Provide male reading role models
Male role models are really important. Fathers, grandfathers, uncles and older brothers can all play their part by letting younger boys see them reading. It doesn’t matter if it’s the newspaper, a book or a recipe. In copying reading behaviour boys will gain confidence and get to be great readers too.
3. It doesn’t have to be just books
Reading is reading, no matter what it is. Magazines and comics are a great way to encourage boys to read as they tend to be visual learners. Try visiting www.comicmaster.org.uk to make your own! Reading doesn’t have to mean just sitting down with a book; words are everywhere. Use road signs, posters, television guides and shopping lists to get your boys reading.
The Tintin comic strip books are a brilliant way of drawing reluctant readers into gripping tales featuring a fearless boy and his dog Snowy. A graphic novel adaptation of Horowitz’s gripping adventure story Stormbreaker, beautifully illustrated in a modern manga style.
4. Give lots of praise
Boys thrive on praise and will love getting attention for positive behaviours! When he is reading well, give him encouragement and be specific rather than general about the praise you are giving. If a boy can understand exactly what he has done to earn the praise he will learn more quickly. Make it clear that if he makes a mistake reading he is not a failure – that’s the way you learn.