The Battle of Boys vs Books

I have three kids-two boys and a little girl. My boys are 10 and 7, and my girl is 6. They are at the beginning of their school years, but I am already seeing a huge difference in their attitude about reading.  My boys have taken longer to read, and although they love me reading to them, they do not quite enjoy reading themselves. So why are boys struggling so much with reading. 

Stats Of Boys and Reading

According to Michael W. Smith and Jeffrey D. Wilhelm in Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men (Heinemann, 2002), research on gender and literacy provides some interesting insights:

  • Boys take longer to learn to read than girls do.
  • Boys read less than girls read.
  • Girls tend to comprehend narrative texts and most expository texts significantly better than boys do.
  • Boys value reading as an activity less than girls do.

According to a national survey conducted by the Young Adult Library Services Association in 2001, boys of an average age of 14 listed their top obstacles to reading:

  • boring/no fun 39.3%
  • no time/too busy 29.8%
  • like other activities better 11.1%
  • can’t get into the stories 7.7%
  • I’m not good at it 4.3%

What Can We Do

I love the suggestions I found on

1. Count it All

A book is a book right, and reading is reading. So we have to change our mindset in what it looks like for our boys to read. We must include boy-friendly nonfiction, humor, comics, graphic novels, action-adventure, magazines, websites, audiobooks, and newspapers in school reading. These all count as reading! My two boys have been enthralled with instructional Minecraft books that show how to build different things in Minecraft.  They will sit and read these books for a long time. It’s ok that it is not like a classic chapter book. 

2. Give a Choice

We all like to make our own choices and boys are no different.  They have different interests and we can help motivate boys to want to read by letting them choose texts they will enjoy. Find out what they like and enjoy.  Help them find books on activities or tv shows or people that interest them. 

3. Encourage male role models.

Boys need to see other men reading. That could be a newspaper, comic book, instruction manual, you name it but a book in a man’s hand is a good thing for boys to see. 

Books my Boys Have LOVED

I first started reading a few chapters out-loud to my boys.  Once they were invested in the story, they were hooked and ready to keep reading on their own. Here is a list of just a few book series that captured my boys’ attention and kept them reading!

  1. Super Rabbit Boy
  2. Horrible Henry
  3. Magic Tree House
  4. Ready Freddy
  5. Minecraft Woodsword Chronicles
  6. Mojang Minecraft Guide To:
  7. My Book of…(many different titles to choose from)
  8. Roald Dahl Series
  9. The Dangerous Book for Boys
  10. The Last Kids on Earth Series
  11. Judy Blume’s Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing Series

Keep Going

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Cascia was born and raised in the Arizona heat. While receiving her Pre-Med degree at HIU in California, a blonde, surfing, skateboarding boy stole her heart. In 2004, she married Chuck and had many adventures living in Arizona, California and Colorado. They now call Simi Valley home and have three wild and curious children - Becker (10), Bodie (7) and Lyla (6). She has been blessed to be a teacher, summer camp staff/program director, SAHM and now the owner of Ventura County Mom Collective. Playing guitar, writing songs, and reading any and every parenting book helps keep her sane and happy! A good cup of coffee or a bubbly La Croix can usually be found in her hand! She tries to live by the motto "I'd rather recover from failure than live with regret.


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