5 Tips to Get Boys to Read

Reading rates have been declining for several decades, but the problem is most pronounced among boys. According to the U.S. Department of Education, reading has steadily declined among both boys and girls, but boys have stopped reading at a faster rate and are currently far behind girls. Yet hope is not lost. The following five tips are intended to help get your son reading and reverse this trend.

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1. Consider Content

In order to engage your son in reading, try to tailor books to his interests. If he likes sports, try to find books that revolve around baseball or football. Allow him to make his own reading choices. If he likes the books he brings home he is more likely to read them. Explore the local library to find a wealth of different types of books, magazines and comics that may interest your boy and make him want to pick up his next favorite read.

Young Boy Reading a Book

2. Be a Role Model

Boys often look towards male role models to see what activities are cool and worthwhile. A male reading role model may help your boy discover that reading is both cool and fun. Find a male mentor, whether it's a relative, tutor or member of a local reading group, who can suggest books and provide an example of why reading is beneficial. Also, parents are always a child's best role models. Show him that the adults in his life enjoy reading and make it a family activity. If he sees you reading, he'll want to read too.

3. Think Outside the Book

Don't limit the concept of reading to novels. Let your son explore all different reading forms, including non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, comics, and books. Also look to audiobooks and websites to help boys engage with reading. Remember that even if it's the action in a graphic novel that gets a boy interested, he's still passionate about reading and it may spark his lifelong love of books.

4. Make Reading a Game

If your boy is competitive, you can take advantage of this trait by making reading a game. Use a reading log and set challenges. Make reading something fun and entertaining both for him and your entire family. If he's competing against his parents and siblings it might spur him to read before bed instead of watching television. Many libraries also run reading challenges during the summer months that offer prizes for reading a certain number of books. Help him stock up and encourage him to achieve goals that you can then display around the house.

5. Start Small

Finally, remember that a little reading is better than no reading. Don't become discouraged if he only reads a chapter a day, he is still engaging in the text. Go to the library and begin with a single book, newspaper article or magazine and try to get a passion for reading going with a small spark. Over time, you may find that your boy's attitude towards reading evolves and he comes home with armloads of books. As this happens, he may grow more ambitious, but it's best to let the fire spread on its own.

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