When I ask my son to read he says:
- That sounds awesome! Bring out the Harry Potter! Oh mom, I love you so much for suggesting that. Can I also unload the dishwasher for you while I’m at it?
- Call the pediatrician, I’d rather get a shot.
- (insert giant eye roll here)
- Fine, but after I play 6 straight hours of Minecraft on the iPad.
Our Top 10 Reading Hacks to Get Boys into the Reading Scene:
1. Start with graphic novels. Boys tend to be more visual readers than girls. If you can get them into a series which keeps their interest, then you’re on your way. If they’re into sports, try the “Sports Illustrated Kids” graphic novels (“Full Court Flash” about basketball, for example). Are they into Minecraft? Start with “Quest for the Golden Apple”. Are they into Lego? Go with “The Official Movie Handbook- Lego Movie” published by Scholastic.
2. Read about their interests. My son is not into Harry Potter, not at all. No matter how many times I want to read it to him, it’s a no go. He is however a lover of numbers and sports so he will be much more amenable to reading about those subject. If you head over to any library or bookstore, they will help find books that fit your child’s passion. Whether it’s Minecraft, sports, monsters or botany, there’s a book out there for all of them.
4. Try an e-reader. Depending on their age, an old fashioned Kindle is the way to go. I’m not recommending reading on a Kindle fire or an iPad at this time, I’d suggest the e-reader give you no other options or distractions than to read. This allows them to read at night before bed and it keeps it cool by having some technology attached to it.
5. Try the “Weird but True” series. What I love about these are that you can read one page at a time (just try to do that, I dare you, the info is so interesting he won’t be able to stop). It’s a really visual series with super neat facts like “it takes a banana peel 2-5 weeks to decompose” or “a cat’s top speed is 31 miles an hour”. What kid wouldn’t love to have the fact that “it’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open” in their back pocket?
6. Start a book club. We offer a “Boys Book Club” for different ages and interests at our center but it’s just as easy to do it on your own. I would suggest you limit the time to 30-45 minutes per meeting and step up your Pinterest game and throw down some themed snacks.
7. Let them shop. I don’t mean let them loose at Nordstrom. I mean bring them to the Library or Nicola’s and let them pick what they might be interested in. I don’t suggest buying more than one book at a time. If they come home with a pile, they will tend to just sit there. If there is just one book, they’ll be more apt to pick it up, read it and then want to go back to get another one.
8. Read to them. Like duh.
9. Books on tape. The library has a ton of these and so does Amazon.com. Throw one in your car and with all your carting around you’re doing to activities, let the whole family get into one of these stories.
10. Introduce the book fairy. My friend, JoAnna is an AP English teacher and I’m stealing this one from her. The book fairy shows up at her house periodically and leaves books under the pillow. I’d like to one up this one and recommend that the reading fairy gift your child a reading light so that they can read in bed under their covers.
11. I know I said 10 tips, but I couldn’t help myself. Here’s 11 and it’s a biggie. Quit it with the devices and TV. Limit their time. If you gave me the choice of binge watching Netflix or sitting down with a good book, I might not pick the latter. Limit screen time.
Looking for a book list for birthday gifts for boys? Here are some of our favorites:
- A Day at the Fire Station by Lori Mortensen
- Bone by Jeff Smith
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce
- The Dog That Pitched a No-Hitter by Matt Christopher
- George Brown, Class Clown by Nancy Krulik
- There’s No Crying in Baseball by Sports Illustrated Kids
- Weird But True by National Geographic Kids
- Year in Sports by Scholastic
- Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
- Ball Park Mysteries by David Kelly
- Quest for the Golden Apple by Megan Miller
- Stink, The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald
- You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Museum of Fine Arts by Jacqueline Weitzman