Encouraging Boys Reading
Forget ‘boys will be boys’ … boys will be brilliant!
As you may know, we have a higher percentage of boys in school than we have girls (65% boys, 35% girls). Here we suggest some of the really simple but great things you can do to make sure that your son really achieves the best he can. Take a look…
What do we know about boys and their reading?
- Boys are less likely to talk about what they are reading, so try to find ways to chat informally about a news story, magazine, book or film…
- Boys spend less time reading, so don’t be too harsh if it seems too little! Even five minutes a day can make all the difference.
- Boys choose different books to girls and tend to go more for humour, science fiction, action, even horror!
- Boys’ interest in a topic really does seem to make a difference to their understanding so it really is worth choosing books that match their interests and hobbies.
- With these facts in mind, MOTIVATION and ATTENTION-GRABBING CONTENT have to be the top priorities if you want to get your son to read – and stick with it.
Five Top Tips for getting boys reading
Try these top tips to encourage independence in general and reading in particular – and loving both!
Boys need lots of praise. Often they see themselves as getting attention for all the wrong reasons. So, give your son lots of approval for all the right reasons! A good rule of thumb is to try to say three positive things to every negative.
When giving praise, try to be specific about what it is your son has done to earn the praise.
If you want to help your son to do better, it’s important to get him talking (and listening!) right from the start. You can help in several ways:
Show an interest in what your son is doing (even if the subject doesn’t interest you!) and ask questions about it.
Talk with him, rather than at him.
It’s important to be patient: listen with interest, keep the conversation going, ask questions and don’t leap in with an answer. Easier said than done!
To help your son to be independent from an early age, you could encourage him to:
- get himself dressed in the morning,
- make a list of everything he needs for school that day,
- make his own decisions about a few things in the week’s routine.
You can do it!
Boys often feel that mistakes equal failure. A boy’s response is to say that he ‘can’t do it’. To help your son feel that he CAN do it, give him lots of encouragement when he does something well. It’s also important to remember that mistakes don’t equal failure; it’s just the way we learn.
Read, read, read!
It’s really important to show boys that reading is an ‘ok’ thing for men to do. So, granddads, dads, brothers, uncles… you need to get reading too!
Reading together is important for boys of all ages as it helps them realise that it’s not only a skill for life, but also good fun too:
- Read with expression.
- Talk about the characters, plot and pictures along the way.
- Ask him to guess what might happen next.
Reading isn’t just about books!
Encourage your son to read when you are out and about together. Try reading labels, signs, posters, instructions… the list is endless. Words are everywhere, so read them! It’s perfectly fine for your son to read magazines, newspapers, or eBooks if that’s what he prefers.