Boys and reading

Getting boys to read is a challenge for lots of parents.  As the title of my blog suggests, we don't really have that problem.  But I do find it hard to get my head around the types of books that my 11 yo son reads.  They don't appeal much to me as a woman!

I've been doing some reading for my library degree on how to get boys to read more.  And one of the big issues is that many librarians are women and simply don't relate (or even approve) of the types of books that boys like.  The textbook I've been reading has a little section explaining why boys read what they do.

 "Boys enjoy reading fantasy because the basic structure, borrowed from mythology, traces the path of an individual in search of his place in the world.  

Action and adventure books do much the same, and these, like fantasy, contain active plot lines that speak to boys' active natures.

... much fantasy and adventure literature contains so much action that it tends towards violence but what we sometimes fail to see is that literature can be a positive vehicle for looking and dealing with such issues, and certainly a safer venue that the image-rich environment of the media or video games.  

Boys love humor, especially the edgier kind that drives adults crazy.  That, is of course, the point.  Boys see the world comprised of rules and methods, dos and don'ts.  They are inherently rule bound, so how can they tell where the lines are if they do not dance over them now and then? 

Boys also like to read nonfiction, because it helps them to understand how the world around them works."  
(Fundamentals of Children's Services, Michael Sullivan, 2005, pp 14 & 15)

Hope you find these insights helpful.  I certainly felt it helped me understand what appeals to boys and not be too quick to judge the types of books that they like.


Jo said…
Thanks for those insights, I have an 11 year old boy too!
It is hard not to judge sometimes, I agree. I remember when Matt was loving the Captain Underpants books when he was in Year 1. I thought they were awful, and all the (incorrect) phonetic spelling drove me crazy!! But his spelling never suffered, and now he has moved on to other things.
Current favourites are the Horrible History books.
Jenny Kemp said…
My 11 yo LOVES Horrible History books too- he has learnt loads from reading them. Handy in a Trivial Pursuit game!
Karen said…
I love the Horrible History books too! What does that say about me?!

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