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how do I get my boys interested in reading?

46 replies

Mumlicious · 27/12/2011 23:27

I was wondering whether any one has any tips on how I can get my kids enthusiastic about reading. I fear I may have left it too late, my eldest is 10, and I also have an 8 year old. They've never had a real interest in reading, both very fluent but will not readily read books if given the choice, especially my 8 year old, who has started to lose his confidence in reading books as he feels he doesn't understand.
Anyone have any tips for me please??

OP posts:
BranIsLonelyThisChristmas · 27/12/2011 23:36

Have you tried graphic novels? DS finds lots of text a bit daunting but he read Stormbreaker the graphic novel in one sitting. He also enjoyed Calamity Jack

clopper · 27/12/2011 23:38

My son was the same until we got hold of some comics, his reading then took off.

GrimmaTheNome · 27/12/2011 23:42

Would they prefer non-fiction - some kids love dipping into encyclopaedias or Guinness book of records type thing. Good time of year to get some.

Oh - this has just reminded me I failed to get my DDs Beano annual this year!

MrsHeffley · 28/12/2011 19:39

There is a new fab comic called The Phoenix(must stop banging on about it)with fab stories,some in strip form.

I have 8 year old twin boys,both very fluent,one always addicted to reading the other wasn't to begin with.Once I realised not all kids have to enjoy massive works of fiction and embraced his interests he got just as keen.Said twin loves non fiction such as How Much Poo Does an Elephant Do,any Star Wars,he's addicted to Beast Quest and also Wimpy Kid.

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights · 28/12/2011 19:49

No personal experience but I have heard a lot of people say that the 'Diary of a wimpy kid' got their son/s reading when they hadn't been interested before and as MrsH also said, Guiness Book of Records - I don't know any boy who can resist that.

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights · 28/12/2011 19:49

Sorry meant Grimma re GBR & MrsH re Diary!

DilysPrice · 28/12/2011 20:19

Wimpy Kid? Captain Underpants? Horrible Histories/Science (you should be able to pick the annuals up very cheaply this week and they're normally excellent value)? Asterix? Tintin? Top Gear?

allagory · 28/12/2011 20:45

My 7 year old likes reading Match of the Day magazine, the sports pages of The Guardian and First News kids' newspaper. He reads Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, Horrid Henry, Horrible History.

If you are loaded you could buy them a Kindle. I imagine boys would like a bit of techiness to add street cred to their reading.

I wouldn't worry too much about it being too late. I rarely read as a child but I went on to do a degree in English Lit. I picked it up the reading habit as a teenager.

amerryscot · 28/12/2011 20:55

My DS1, who is now at a top RG university, was never interested in reading fiction. He started off reading the sports pages of the Telegraph. If he reads books, they are usually sporting biographies.

Somehow, he did manage to acquire a good and varied vocabulary, despite my fretting.

worley · 28/12/2011 21:14

artemis fowl books? ds1 loved them, cannot think of Authors name at moment.
he used to listen to audio story tapes and would then read he books too.

worley · 28/12/2011 21:18


worley · 28/12/2011 21:20

sorry, posting on phone !

eoin colfer is the author. we have the whole Artemis fowl series. he does other books to which ds1 has read. do you have any Harry potters?

MissBetsyTrotwood · 28/12/2011 21:24

Eoin Colfer is the Artemis Fowl author.

Real stuff rooted in real life. Have a day out, read around it. Agree about the newspapers and graphic novels too. Also, does it have to be novels? Do they have any bands they are into? Could they find the lyric books? Plenty of band biographies out there too (you may want to vet these a little first Shock.)

Lots of libraries have a 'boys' section. A little patronising, but always worked ime as an English teacher.

LePruneDeMaTante · 28/12/2011 21:24

Lego catalogue
Firebox catalogue
definitely, definitely comic-style books: aged about 6, Ben10 episodes as comic books, just the job
Also the Horrible Histories comic-style ones (only seen Tudors and Egyptians in the format I'm thinking of)
Big books on mythological creatures - bound to be reduced at this time of year
audiobooks can lead onto re-reading though I haven't personally found this (the idea is they give initial confidence that the story won't be incomprehensible or something)

Sometimes dh and I have had a conversation about eg Philip Pullman novels (ie me telling DH some of the plot twists or interesting concepts) in earshot of ds and he has pricked his ears up. Books then left lying about. Mixed success.

Winner: Kindle app on iPad with me reading TO ds. Also just a Good Thing to do.

MissBetsyTrotwood · 28/12/2011 21:24

Sorry worley, x post.

misshappinessandmissflower · 28/12/2011 22:51

You could also think about presenting reading as a treat eg staying up 15 mins later in the evening to read, sometimes reading over lunch at the weekends, going to a cafe for a treat with a book or a comic?

bruffin · 28/12/2011 23:02

Ds didnt start reading until he was 13, he used to listen to a lot of audio books a lot. I bought him the Alex rider cds and then a new book came out and he was desperate to find out what happened next so read the book and then went on to be a bit of a bookworm for a while

polarfox · 30/12/2011 13:24

DS 8 has recently gone mad about reading; He loves Diary of Wimpy kid, crazy about Beast Quest, (read 18 of them over a month) and I also ordered online Asterix and TinTin comics which he devoured.
Another good one, which goes down with most kids is a greek mythology book by Atticus the story teller.

I think to get them into reading you have to provide adequate books, mixing fiction-nonfiction-comics etc to avoid monotonous mix...

mckenzie · 30/12/2011 13:28

Read to them to start with. Or do a page each.

That way they might want to do the reading because it means time with you and then they'll realise that reading is fab and continue by themselves.

DS is 10 and a fabulous reader but we still have our little sessions where I read to him. I think it makes it special.

anonymosity · 05/01/2012 03:47

DK does some great books on Ancient China, Weapons, things like that - factual and partially illustrated, but definitely reading material.That might be a bridge (if they're interested in the topic) into other things...

nooka · 05/01/2012 04:25

I think the main thing is to get them so bored that they will try anything. My ds is a great reader now, although very picky, but he sure reads more when he doesn't have access to his DS or XBox.

Otherwise I think it is about exposing them to lots of variety, talking to them about what they like and why, and trying to get them to read at least a little bit of lots of books. When ds was younger we had lots of books on CD and I read to them every night until a year or two ago (ds is 12). Plus the last school they were at had a requirement of half an hour reading every day and so we had that window to play with. ds really enjoyed the Bone graphic novel series if you want another cartoon recommendation.

DandyDan · 06/01/2012 12:06

Question - do they see you reading? Maybe have some evenings/times when there is no TV/electronic media switched on, and everyone sits and reads or if they won't read, they do something quiet - wordsearches or jigsaw puzzles, craft things - whilst you get on with reading. Even if they don't read during these times, they will see the value you put on reading for yourself.

Many of the suggestions above are good - Tintin, Asterix, graphic novels, Wimpy Kid, football comics, Kindles, non-fiction etc - but unless obvious reading is a visible norm in your household, they might still not be interested.

If they really persist in not being interested in any form of reading - newspapers, magazines, fiction of any kind, cartoons - then I would try to ensure that they get their imaginative/narrative education and exploration from as many other sources as possible: watching the news or listening to the radio news (surprising how few children access the news); story-tapes in the car; watching documentaries on a variety of subjects; watching a good range of films, not just the Disneys and Pixars or obvious "children's films" - here is an example of a list the British Film Institute recommended for children under 14 -

SkiBumMum · 06/01/2012 12:17

My mum is a VRH volunteer. She says she often gets reluctant boys going with football reports in the newspaper and printouts from the team news website

racingheart · 08/01/2012 19:28

Definitely get them reading anything at all at first, that appeals to them. My non-reading DS got interested with a Lego Star Wars gaming manual. His brother hated reading until he discovered Alex rider books. Since then he hasn't stopped.

Def Alex Rider, Diamond Brothers (both by Anthony Horowitz) or Hardy Boys as they are adventure packed. Wimpy Kid if all else fails. It's a bit weakly written IMO.

PatsysPyjamas · 24/01/2012 12:55
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