Getting Boys to Read March 4, 2010Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
Tags: books, boys, fiction, nonfiction
Boys don’t read. I’ve heard that countless times, but as an author and a mother of two sons, I expected my boys to be different. I nearly cleaned out my library’s picture book shelves by reading to my oldest son. He always seemed eager to curl up with me and a book. But he’s in middle school now and rarely reads for pleasure. Same with my son in elementary school. They text and e-mail friends and read snippets from magazines such as Sports Illustrated for Kids, Boys’ Life, and National Geographic Kids. I’m glad they read magazines and read and write text or e-mail messages, but I’d like to get them more interested in books.
And I think I’ve discovered a mistake I’ve made over the years. I supplied my boys with a wide range of fiction, including nearly all the Newbery Award winners. My boys turned up their noses or expressed a dislike for these books, even calling the award winners “boring.” Then I noticed the books my youngest son chose from the school library: Guiness World Records, biographies, and nonfiction of all sorts. I had generously supplied my boys with fiction–the types of books I like to read–but little nonfiction.
I should have gotten a clue from the magazines they were reading, all nonfiction. And, as a writer, I knew that boys tend to gravitate toward nonfiction and genres of fiction like sports, adventure, science fiction, and westerns. Still, I slipped into my own reading habits when purchasing books for them.
So, these past two months, I’ve allowed my sons to order whatever books they want from the book clubs at school (Scholastic, Troll, and the like). My oldest son has yet to order one, but my youngest son has ordered two. Both books are full-color, highly illustrated books about athletes and their accomplishments. Snore city, I’d say.
Only I’ve caught my son reading them in bed at night.