Saturday, March 08, 2014

7 Tips for Encouraging Boys to Read

Since we all know that boys tend to be less engaged in reading than girls (for any number of reasons), it's important that teachers do whatever they can to ensure they set up their male students for reading success. Here are a few tips for teachers to consider when preparing to teach boys to read.
  1. According to, boys will read "if they are given reading that interests them." That's good news, right? Sure it is! Except that every teacher who has ever wandered through a classroom during independent reading time will have noticed that boys choose to read a variety of books. I've seen: Captain Underpants, Lego, Sharks, Harry Potter, National Geographic, and the list goes on. The trick is to ensure there's lots of variety in the class library (and even more in the school library!). It can't hurt to ask them what they're interested in reading. Why not show them some online resources, such as or Hand out those Scholastic flyers and place orders yourself. Hit up some garage sales. Do what you can to stock your library with boy-friendly reading material. 
  2. If you're a male teacher, let your students see you reading lots of awesome books. Talk about how you read every day and how much you love it. Tell them why you love it. Talk about the books you read and what was so great about them. Carry books around all the time. Join your kids in silent reading time. Read to them. If you're a female teacher, your kids will benefit from seeing you do all this too. But boys need to see other males reading, so enlist of the help of male teachers in the school, male volunteers, older male students, male administrators. And make sure Dad knows how important it is for him to be involved with the home reading support. 
  3. Set up an awesome reading area in your classroom. Experiment with the setup until you have kids begging you to spend time there. I did a Google Search and found lots of amazing ideas.  
  4. Ensure your boys have lots of access to technology. Let them read online. Let them keep an online reading log. Give them opportunites to respond to the books they read using blogs or other creative software.
  5. Set boys up for success after success after success. They like doing things well. Make sure you are giving them engaging activities to do as they respond to the books they read. Don't hesitate to turn to the arts if you're looking for alternative ways to encourage boys to express themselves. Many will embrace some aspect of art and blow you away with the things they create. Let them go for it!
  6. Give boys lots of time to talk to other boys about the books they have read and their responses to those books. Talking about it helps them structure their ideas in their heads before they write about it. 
  7. Make sure your assessments are based on real-world success criteria. The more practical and realistic you can make their assessment pieces, the better the outcome.

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