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Getting Boys to Read, Part II February 8, 2011

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.

In March of last year, I wrote about discovering that although neither of my sons enjoys reading, my youngest son shows more interest in nonfiction than fiction. (I’d heard this preference holds true for boys in general.)

My youngest son kept telling me he would read more fiction if he could find funny books. He read all the Captain Underpants books when he was in second and third grade, and as a fourth and fifth grader, all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I tried giving him suggested titles from a local librarian. His verdict? Not funny.

I’ve written a few humorous stories for children’s magazines, and my son read one of those and said, “That was funny! You should write a book like that.” But being funny for an entire book would be so difficult. I don’t think humor writers get near the accolades they deserve. Writing humor is hard work.

The magazine story he liked was a cross between an adventure story and a tall tale. I wondered if he would like adventure stories or Mark Twain. Good news: He likes adventure stories. The principal at his school recommended the Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz. My son read four out of the six books and enjoyed them. I read the first book in the series, and it’s basically a James Bond series with a boy as the spy. Now I don’t know what my son will move on to when he’s finished the series, but I discovered a couple more things through this process.

First, both of my sons like series. I tend to think children who like collecting things might be more inclined to read series. The same desire to complete a set goes into both interests.

Second, I’m really grateful for male educators (as well as female educators). The principal who recommended these books had sons of his own and remembered what he himself liked reading as a child. He told me to let him know when my son is ready for a new series. I guess I should have thought to ask a guy what guys like to read. I keep learning. 🙂