Over my 15 years of teaching English, I have noticed a disturbing trend — only one or two boys out of each class like to read. I have asked myself why they don’t like to read so often; I have even asked them. Usually, I get the standard, “I hate to read.” For the past several years, I have started fighting back, “It’s not that you hate reading; It’s that you hate to read what teachers want you to read,” I retort. “You read everyday…sports, social media, texting…” That usually catches them off guard, and most boys actually think about what I have said, with a shrug, “Maybe.” But, still to this day, I don’t know for sure why many boys don’t read without being tortured.
As a good wife and mother, I started asking my husband and son. Of course, both will tell you they don’t like to read either. My husband is even proud of the fact that he avoided reading any novels during high school. My son, on the other hand, has always struggled with reading, and says that he would rather eat nails than to read. Neither can give me any insight into the male psyche (or rather, they won’t break the man-code).
Over the years, I have read several articles on this subject but not to much avail. I know, for instance, that boys usually prefer nonfiction over fiction (except for the Manga, sci-fi or fantasy reader), they prefer action over drama-filled love stories, and many like books that are funny or that focus on their hobbies or interests — sports, cars, etc.
Some of the books that I have found that interest boys are: Monster by Walter Dean Myers, Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers, Hatchet by Gary Paulson, The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis, and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney.
So, here is your part. I need your help. What were some of the books your boys read growing up? What do you read (if you are male)? Feel free to give me some insight and advice in the boys reading dilemma. I am looking for ideas and solutions to solve this age-old problem. Let’s get boys reading.