Why Doesn't My Son Like To Read?

Why Doesn’t My Son Like To Read?

Why doesn’t my son like to read?  This is a question I hear so often throughout my career as a teacher.  It took about four years of teaching kindergarten before I realized I was part of the problem.  My boys were bored with read-alouds about my favorite fairy tales with princesses who lived happily ever after.  I noticed they were more intrigued by my science center that held informational books about bugs, volcanoes, and dinosaurs.  I didn’t make the connection until graduate school when I studied about the developmental differences in the male and female brain and the implications of teaching these learners in the classroom.  It made sense thinking about the reading choices of my husband, uncles, and my dad.  I’d never seen them grab a romance novel as I did during my leisure time.  They would only be found with their noses buried in car and money magazines, newspapers, and Sports Illustrated. 

So why don’t our sons like to read?  Because ironically the adults who are introducing reading to our boys are most often females.  If it’s not a mom or grandmother, it’s an early childhood teacher, and we often make the same mistake I did as a novice teacher who grabbed what I liked to read instead.  Thankfully, by the time I became a mother to my son, I made a conscious effort to introduce more books about bugs, tractors, and football.  I’d even accepted my son’s fascination with silly books like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  While I’d rather he chose books with more substance at an older age, I had to keep in mind my purpose;  I would rather foster his love of reading so that he will enjoy reading as much as I do.

As a tutor at The Piedmont School, I’ve helped many parents select books for their sons who are reluctant readers.  We’ve found that our boys love the historical fiction genre like the I Survived and Magic Tree House series.  Many of our older boys love mysteries like the Alex Rider or the Carl Deuker sports series as well.  We’ve found that those who are reluctant or unmotivated also love graphic novels like a new favorite in most school buildings, Dog Man or Cat Kid.  These high interest books are appealing because of the limited text on each page as well as the added pictures that appeal to our visual learners.  As parents and educators, we also forget to include magazines as a choice for independent reading requirements at home and at school.  Giving a variety of reading selections like articles on the internet, magazines, “how-to” manuals and recipes, and even travel brochures about a favorite place gives the skill practice needed to become independent readers as well as help maintain interest through functional reading.

Whether it’s our sons or daughters, what’s most important is finding their interest before grabbing that title, even if it's a girl who is fascinated with non-fiction titles and books about hunting.  We have to give our children as many opportunities to read what they love and it may even mean a story like Captain Underpants that just makes them giggle.

If you would like to learn more about The Piedmont School/John Yowell Academy and the wonderful work we do, please reach out to me at (336) 883-0992 or email me at ddavis@thepiedmontschool.com.

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