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Homeschool Reading Program: 9 Ways to Help Our Boys Enjoy Reading

Parents often get discouraged when trying to create a homeschool reading program for their sons. Tragically, boys are more likely than girls to say that they hate to read. Boys do get excited about reading, though, if we approach the subject in the right way and if we give them the right reading material.

As parents, we have the flexibility to design homeschool reading programs which will cater to the needs of our individual children. We also have a head start when teaching our children to read, as parental involvement plays a big role in the success of our children’s reading ability. The more our children see us reading, the more they will see the value of reading and want to learn to do it themselves.

Homeschool Reading Program: 9 Ways to Help Our Boys Enjoy Reading - Boys can learn to love reading. Learn how to develop a homeschool reading program which will make reading your son's favorite part of his day!

Here are 9 Ways to Help Boys Enjoy Reading:

1 – Audio Books or Dramatized Versions of Books

Allow your son to listen to audiobooks.  Most libraries have tons of audiobooks that you can check out.  We’ve also enjoyed listening to dramatized versions of books such as Under Drake’s Flag and In Freedom’s Cause.

2 – Boys Book Clubs

Utilize positive peer pressure by starting a book club just for boys. Try to include active outdoor activities which relate to the book. Think about providing snacks or a pizza party for each boy who successfully completes the book. Books about sports and athletes are great to focus on for these kinds of clubs.

3 – Discuss the Value

Your sons may not realize how important reading can be for various careers. As part of your homeschool reading program, you will want to discuss different jobs your boys are currently excited about and let them know how important reading can be for those careers. If your sons can grasp the importance of reading, they will be more inclined to want to master the skill.

Time Capsule: Medieval England Unit Study

4 – Grab their Attention

How often would you read for pleasure if every book you were handed was about a topic that didn’t interest you or that you found boring? Introduce materials into your homeschool reading that will grab their attention rather than us forcing them to read books that you want them to read. Compelling boys to read will not make them lifelong readers – it will turn them into resistance readers.

5 – Libraries and Bookstores

Take your sons to the library or a bookstore. Let them see the vast amount of reading material which is available to them. A great way to get your boys interested in reading is to let them choose the book they will read next.

Homeschool Reading Program: 9 Ways to Help Our Boys Enjoy Reading - Boys can learn to love reading. Learn how to develop a homeschool reading program which will make reading your son's favorite part of his day!

6 – Male Role Models

Boys who are homeschooled often see their moms reading, but don’t necessarily see their dads reading as well. It is important for boys to see men and other boys get excited about reading. A great way to get dad involved in the homeschool reading program is for him to read to your boys in the evenings. Be sure to choose reading materials which are slightly more complex than that which your sons can read on their own.

 7 – Peer Reading

If you have more than one child, have the older one help the younger in their reading. Boys look up to their older brothers and love to copy them. Reading with a brother tends to help the younger boys with their reading skills while helping the older ones to develop better communication and social skills.

Homeschool Reading Program: 9 Ways to Help Our Boys Enjoy Reading - Boys can learn to love reading. Learn how to develop a homeschool reading program which will make reading your son's favorite part of his day!

8 – Read Aloud

Read aloud to your sons and have them read aloud to you. Unfortunately, once children learn to read on their own, this is a practice that is often abandoned. Reading aloud to your children creates a bridge to more difficult reading that your sons will tackle independently later and we should include it in every good homeschool reading program.

I read aloud to my sons all the way through high school. It was a gentle way to start our mornings. They ate breakfast while I read to them. We have lots of great memories of books we shared together using this method.

9 – Reading Materials

Most boys do enjoy reading if we give them the right reading material. Look for the following when choosing reading material to stimulate your son’s desire to read:

  • Books which are based on their own interests or that will help them to gain information that they can share with their friends.
  • Stories they can relate to from their own life experiences.
  • Genres that interest boys usually include fantasy, science-fiction, mysteries and adventure books.
  • Books that jump right into the action and don’t spend pages describing the beautiful setting.
  • If you are homeschooling daughters as well as sons, it is important to introduce them to different books as they usually have vastly different reading preferences… especially in the elementary and middle school years.
  • Studies have shown that boys often prefer to read non-fiction material. They are often intrigued by fact books such as the Guinness Book of World Records or the Farmer’s Almanac.
  • Let your son subscribe to his own magazine – ones which feature sports, cars, science, or technology are usually favorites among boys.
  • Sometimes boys just want to read for fun. They tend to enjoy books which feature crazy rules or gross details. You’ll want to be very aware of what your sons are reading in this category. You may want to pre-read these types of books to make sure they are appropriate for your boys.
  • Comic books can get your boys hooked on reading. If they learn to love reading through comic books, they might be more willing to read their first novel once they become more confident in their skills.
  • Boys enjoy short books that they can start and finish in one sitting. Once they have learned to enjoy these types of stories, then they will be more willing to graduate to longer stories.
  • Some older boys become very interested in music. Encourage these boys to read song lyrics and to write song lyrics of their own. They can attempt to write songs about their own school lessons. When lessons are put to music, they are remembered much longer.

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Use these tips to develop your own homeschool reading program and you may never again hear your boys complain about having to read a book!

Question: What does your son love to read? Has he always loved to read or have you had to work at it? If you have any tips you’d like to share please leave a comment below.

Homeschool Reading Program: 9 Ways to Help Our Boys Enjoy Reading - Boys can learn to love reading. Learn how to develop a homeschool reading program which will make reading your son's favorite part of his day!

9 thoughts on “Homeschool Reading Program: 9 Ways to Help Our Boys Enjoy Reading”

  1. My 6yo son LOVES to read…so far. He just learned and he’s hungry to keep practicing. He gets better every day so I think he’s still in the excitement/discovery phase. He’s loving simple chapter books like the Cam Jansen series. I think he likes the mystery aspect and how it causes him to think about what the solution might be. He also loves the Dodsworth series by Tim Egan and, of course, anything Paw Patrol.

  2. Michelle, great article. I actually have two daughters we will begin homeschooling soon.

    I was homeschooled. I was not much of a reader and my mom had a hard time trying to figure out how to get me interested in reading. I am sure she would have loved reading this article! I am a big fan or reading now, so she must have done something right.

    If for some reason my daughters are not fans of reading, I now have some good tips on how to get them interested.

    Thanks Again!

    1. Thanks so much, Christopher. It’s always great to hear from people who were homeschooled themselves! And yes, I’m sure your mom did lots of things right. It takes some of us longer than others to jump on the reading train. I always think of Mark Hamby of Lamplighter Publishing Company who says that he always HATED to read at a child, but in his early 20s he read his first full Christian biography and suddenly he was hooked. And for him to go on and found a publishing company really says something!

      Take care, and I hope you’re able to find lots of useful information on my site. I have two sons and I’ve geared many of my posts for parents who have boys, but truth be told there’s a lot of stuff on here that is relevant for daughters as well. 🙂

  3. I have 2 boys. One that can’t get enough books and one that tolerates some reading. My oldest has always just enjoyed it , he plowed through Narnia multiple times by age 9, Tom Sawyer at the age of 11 and continues to love every minute. My second son, not so much. At 10+ he’s just working on beginner chapter books. He does best if he has a challenge so we give rewards for finishing books. My kids don’t get an allowance but they do get paid to read. It works well for us and the library keeps us well stocked with appropriate level books!

  4. Cheryl Reynolds

    My sister used to tape a dollar bill on the inside back cover of a book. Of course after the first time the kids looked in the back first, but it was still an encouragement.

  5. Great blog! thanks for sharing such informative blog, I hope with the above lists my children would start enjoying the reading program. It was a great help for me as I was finding difficulty in making my children read.

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