As a mother of three sons, I have (occasionally!) jealously watched quiet families of girls reading. I imagine all the things I could accomplish with some quiet time.
However, my curiosity and frustration began to rise as I noticed how much better at reading girls are doing today compared to boys. According to the US Department of Education, a lot of boys are having trouble reading. Reading tests for the last 30 years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.
As I dug into the research, I looked for specific things I could do to help my boys become better readers. Here are a few reading tips for parents with boys struggling to stay interested in books:
- Expand my definition of reading – I needed to include nonfiction, graphic novels, comic books and websites.
- Point out male role models – I have a book club. My husband has a poker night. My boys do not see reading as part of what “a guy” does. I needed to ask my husband to step it up as a reading role model.
- Start small – Starting with a short book or a short magazine and then talking about it with me is enough.
- Give a lot of choice – The books I am interested in generally do not appeal to my sons. I needed to step outside of my comfort zone and ask the librarian for help to come up with a pile of choices that I had never heard of!
The most important thing I can do, however, is to keep my boys reading. After all, the only way to get better at reading is to READ, READ, READ!
Today isn’t just Valentine’s Day, it’s International Book Giving Day, too. Why not celebrate by giving your son (or daughter!) a new book, or reading a new book aloud with them?