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boys and books

(9 Posts)
miggy Wed 08-Oct-03 22:22:13

Am I being really sexist here or would you agree that its harder to get boys "into" books. I love books-buying/reading/hoarding but dh has not read a novel in the 15yrs I've known him. I have just about managed to enthuse ds1 (10) with reading by buying him any book I think he might like, regardless of literary value (eg guiness book of records!) and he will now read fiction and rave about it. Ds2 (6) hates doing school reading, it takes about 5x as long as it should because he sings it or reads like a space alien etc. I said tonight"you dont find this book very interesting do you?" and he replied "actually I dont find any book interesting" which really made me sad. DD however has just started school and loves her reading often asking to do the book twice or more. Is it just my boys have inherited DH's Cr*p reading genes or do I get the impression from the fluent readers thread that girls are generally more proactive about books?

cazzybabs Wed 08-Oct-03 22:37:49

In my class the boys defienatly wouldn't choose a book over another activity, where as the girls would. But the boys do love non-fiction - give them a book on the Anceient Egyptains or wildlife and they will sit and read it (well look at the picture ). They also quite like the Horrid Henry and Captain Underpants.
I think girls tend to be able to stick at things for longer (ie reading a book) where as boys have a shorter attention span.
BUT there must be an element of your son not seeing your dh picking up a book. Can you not get hin to read a paper or comic or magazine so your son can see him read. And read to your son or hear him read. But don't force the issue with your son. Nurture him not force him. I think its really important that parents are good role models.

butterflymum Wed 08-Oct-03 23:00:50

I love books but my hubby can take them or leave them (usually the latter). This said, we have always both spent time reading with our boys (the first born especially - probably because we had more time with him). I was forever buying books but have cut back this past year and we all go to the library on a regular basis. I have always tried to make reading fun (or even picture reading when they are young). However, I think that despite all this, children will either take to books willingly or not. Perhaps, as you question, it is in their genes.

Our oldest son, age 6, is an avid reader....he devours books. He is the only boy in his reading section in class (top group), but this does not seem to bother him nor the boys he is friends with. His current top favourites are the "Mr Majeka" stories by Humphrey Carpenter (if I recall the author correctly). But he reads others as well and over the past few weeks has been working his way through the complete collection of Thomas the Tank Engine stories (bick, thick hard-back edition!).

Anyway, as cazzybabs says, you can only nurture not force him. After all his interests/talents may lie in other areas. Keep encouraging him but give him plenty of scope to develop at his own pace....he might even surprise you some day!


butterflymum Wed 08-Oct-03 23:08:20

'bick' ...oops, sorry, meant 'big'

robinw Thu 09-Oct-03 06:31:41

message withdrawn

elliott Thu 09-Oct-03 09:04:40

DH reads as much as me but different habits (me- newspaper, childcare books, pulp fiction, him - quality novels and political/scientific polemics). we both do ds's bedtime story and ds so far loves books (but he is only 2!). I have noticed though that of my friends' older children, very very few of them (boys and girls) seem to enjoy or spend time reading (even though they all have bedtime stories from parents) - when I was a kid I read loads all the time. Maybe to do with the increased importance of TV and computers in their lives? I do find it a bit sad/worrying though.

kmg1 Thu 09-Oct-03 11:16:02

ds1 (6) does often choose reading over other activites, and in the holidays and at weekends spends a lot of time reading (long) novels. However, given the choice (he isn't) he would spend more time on the computer - he gets c.30 mins every other day; also we don't have a playstation. TV isn't really an issue - he just doesn't watch much .. on average maybe 30 mins a day, but often none.

DH reads all the time too - he does some editing, and I do too, so our house is overflowing with books (and nothing else), and we get parcels of books delivered every week.

Not sure I'd recommend this lifestyle - but it seems to solve the problems of boys and books

Philly Thu 09-Oct-03 14:27:45

I have 3 boys and think that although some of this is due to personality and role models ,some is also due to the way boys are perceived as readers both by school and peers.
ds1's school sets great store by aiming for the children to be what they call "natural readers"ie not seeing reading as something special but as something as normal as cleaning their teeth.All the children are expected to have a book in their school bag that they can use to fill in time as necessary.Ds is in year 5 now and they have one lesson a week where all the children in the class read their own book to themselves including the teacher,the teacher is not allowed to mark etc but must read like the children and also be prepared to show the children his book and dicuss as necessary,they also have a class text which they read as a group,currently Goodnight Mr Tom.
I have to say DS is a bookworm and always has been and we are are a booky household but I do think that the fact that reading is seen as a cool activity at school,a school which is predominately boys,does help.At the moment his class has a craze on the horrible history books and they are all swopping them like mad.

DS2 is less academic but has just discovered that he can read things other than his reading book,it is fantastic to se the world opening up to him.

One last point I do think that possibly boys can be more difficult in this respect but girls can as well,interestingly the struggling readers in DS1's class all happen to be girls.I worry that this is yet another example of "boyism",if people posted about all girls having shorter attention spans there would soon be accusations of sexism!! but it seems acceptable to lump all boys together like this.

samACon Thu 09-Oct-03 23:19:05

I have to agree that its down to the individual child, but I definitely think how they are brought up around books has a great influence.
Me and DH always have our noses in books, so DS's have always seen it as a normal activity, which they join in with. I often find DS2 (age 3) lying in bed 'reading' a picture book an hour after he's been put to bed.

I wouldn't worry about 'literary value', who decides what is a worthwhile book or not?

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