Encouraging reading in boys 15

I wrote a post about encouraging writing in my boys and wanted to followup  with one about encouraging reading.  I am an ferociously reader.  I adore books and lap them up, no, that is not quite right I adore reading.  I love words, their meanings, the way they make me feel, the places they take me too.  So for me it was key that I introduced my boys to books very early on in their lives.

Make books available

We have books everywhere and we make sure that they are within their reach,  We have them in the loo, in bedrooms, in the sitting room, we have a bookcase on the landing and one in the conservatory too.  When the boys were smaller I made sure that books were in a box at their level and we rotated them.  We were offered a free trial of Reading Chest and I have to say Mini loves it.  He gets three books delivered and we can post them back when he has read them and we get three more in the post.  It is superb if you are looking for books which are pitched at their ability and you do not have a library or in our case there is no reading scheme in Reception, which means Mini doesn’t get any books he can read, just ones that we can read to him.

Use your Library

It is common sense really, but the boys love visiting the library and picking out their own books, they have both had their own library cards since being tiny.

Let them buy books

Books need not be expensive, the boys love going through the children’s book section in charity shops and I make sure they have their own pennies for them to use. In fact Maxi’s favorite book at the moment is one he bought from the charity shop called how it works.

Don’t force it on them

I believe that is a child doesn’t want to read a book then they won’t and it doesn’t make for a happy family.  If they don’t want to read, then why not read to them.  MadDad and I read chapter books to the boys before bed ach night and I will make sure that if one of them comes and asks me to read, that I do and we can often be found curled up on the settee with a book or two.  I also take books with us if we go out for a picnic.


Reading doesn’t always mean books

If like Maxi books are not you think then why not look at online books or stories to help your children.  Since the boys were tiny I always pointed out letters and words on signs, in shops and when we are out and about.  I used to leave signs round the house and also make treasure maps and leave clues in places for them.  They love when they find a note in their sock draw.

Recipes are a great way of getting them to read, both my boys look cooking and baking, so I make sure we have the recipe wrote down and they read it too me.  The boys love maps and atlas’s so that is another way,  I tend to follow their lead and find things that excite them.  We bought a book of local walks with maps for Maxi and he would direct and read them to us.

I mentioned using secret messages in my encouraging boys to write post and it goes the same for reading, we pretend to be spies.  I am all for making learning fun.

Why not write a shopping list and get them to help with the shopping, matching the words on the list with the ones on the food.

Make use of online resources

Both of my boys love being online and I have to say that they really love Alphablocks.  I do limit screen time, but enjoy sitting with them whilst they show me what they can do.

Don’t stress

Mostly I would say, don’t worry about it, it will happen, if they see you enjoying reading and you make it accessible to them, it will come.


15 thoughts on “Encouraging reading in boys

  • mum of all trades

    Agree that oppourtunities to read are everywhere, even pokemon cards have text to read. What I’ve noticed my boys really love, especially the 9 year old, is if I read a book he has read. He now takes great delight in recomending me a book and saying ‘oh you’ll love this mum’.

    • admin

      mum of all trades » Oh I can not wait until Maxi and Mini are older to do that. I believe in encouraging reading anyway possible, both boys love top trumps

    • admin

      Chris at Thinly Spread » Thank you Chris, your post was a hard act to follow, but my two are only young yet compared to yours

  • swanbythelakeside

    Your Comments
    Sometimes the most reluctant readers blossom aged 8 or 9 and become ardent fans. I think reading aloud cannot be underestimated.
    I think quite quickly we stopped even caring about reading schemes and concentrated on reading interesting bedtime stories to them.

    Sometimes my 11 year old needs a prod though to read things other than football magazines….I think boys in particular can get diverted into “quick fix reading” – comics, annuals, mags, and it can be worth gently persuading them to read more serious stuff which they don’t think they will enjoy. But then they DO.
    We had one good rule after ds1 was 10 – you can’t watch the DVD if you haven’t read the book (HP, Spiderwick, Wimpy Kid that sort of thing)

  • Floss

    Brilliant post – just what teachers would like to see more of! Thanks, Jen. Our boys were quite late to obsessive reading – they just read what they had to for ages. But it came in the end, thanks to an approach pretty like your own.

    • admin

      Floss » Mini is the obsessive reader and the one it came harder too. Maxi reads well above his age, but would rather do something else, so I dont push it with him. We will find his trigger and when it heppens then I will really encourage it all the way. Just like you did with the charity shop books and collecting them! it is nice to hear that I am doing the right thing, espeically from a teacher!

  • Susan Mann

    Excellent post, my boys love books. I always read to them but I’m starting to encourage my oldest to read as he starts school in August. Thanks for the tips and the Reading Chest, I did not know about that. I love how you said put them in the toilet, we do have boys after all 😉 x

    • admin

      Susan Mann » I am a firm believer in by early exposure children will pick up books on their own and read when they want too. I try not to force it on them, but look that MIni is really into his books at the moment

  • Kim

    Like you, both my husband and I are avid readers – my husband in particular can’t walk down the stairs without a book in his hand.

    We suspect that our son, however, is dyslexic which is heartbreaking as he so wants to read – especially his books on animals.

    I think your approach with your boys is fantastic and is a good reminder of how to add encouragement while doing every day things. I will try and build these ideas in with all my children and keep my fingers crossed that things get easier for my son so that he can access the benefits of reading one day himself.

    • admin

      Kim » I too am dyslexic, but have managed to get past it a lot of the time. I do find books with a clear font in best and I used to use a solid ruler or bookmark to underline the line I was reading to help so that my eyes didn’t wander all over the page. It got much better for me when I got glasses at 20, so I wonder if I needed them before that and Mini wears glasses too. Yes I struggle with capcha on blogs now and my spelling is terrible, but I still love words.

  • spudballoo

    hear hear! We are huge fans of Reading Chest here, it’s the best money I’ve ever spent. Our school change books every day, but Reading Chest gives more breadth and also fills the gaps at weekends/holidays/days when he’s feeling very motivated.

    Love this post. i’m PASSIONATE about reading and literacy, the basis of learning and the love of reading is a gift for life. xx

    • admin

      spudballoo » Mini really does adore Reading Chest, I had never come across it before, but it is certainly something that I think people should be aware off, it is great to have new books and appropriate books when he wants to read.

  • Nat

    I agree, Eliza was reading a few words before she started reception and now well I personally think her reading could be better, but I think a lot of it is the boring books she is given she finds them dull, would never read them at home, so we bought some early reader books for her ones she’s interested in, one is about a swallow and a blackbird and she loves it 😀

Comments are closed.