It can be discouraging for parents to develop a homeschool reading program for their sons. Boys are more likely than girls to say that they hate to read. Boys do get excited about reading, though, if it is approached in the right way and if they are given 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.
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
Start 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.
4 – Grab their Attention
It will be much more productive if you are able to 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. Forcing 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.
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.
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 is a bridge to more difficult reading that your sons will tackle independently later and should be included in every good homeschool reading program.
9 – Reading Materials
Most boys do enjoy reading if they are given the right reading material. Look for the following when choosing reading materials 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.
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.