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!