Reading > Encouraging boys to read

Encouraging boys to read

You’ve probably read about the differences between how well boys and girls do in school.

When it comes to reading, creative ideas are often needed to get boys hooked - and to stay that way.

Forget 'boys will be boys' ... boys will be brilliant!

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 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.

Hear Gary Wilson, expert in raising boys’ achievement, as he explains his Five Top Tips for getting the best out of boys – including reading!

Top tips

1. Praise
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.

2. Talk
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!

3. Be independent
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.

4. 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.

5. 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.
  • make his own decisions about a few things in the week’s routine.

Find out more...

For more information visit Gary’s own site .

The following websites will also provide more information about getting boys hooked on reading:

Oxford Owl blog

Great books to get boys reading
Read John Dougherty's top tips and book recommendations to encourage reading for pleasure, over on our blog.


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