Sticky Note

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Musing Monday ~ Boys and Reading

Today Musing Monday asks us:

Do you know of any young boys who do not like to read? Why do you think boys so often don’t? What can we do to encourage them to read more?

Right now I don't really have any "young" boys in my life to make this observation with, so I'll have to go with the past. (Except for my 2 year old son who would rather run through the house than sit with mom while she reads to him.)

My two brothers are not readers and never have been. My parents are not readers either, so it wasn't exactly cultivated in our house. I'm not sure where I got my love affair for books! (Actually I do, but this isn't about me.) Also, my husband is not a reader (the horror! LOL!).

I would have to say that for these guys, they'd rather be outside "doing" something than sitting and reading. As for my husband he has said that he'd "rather live it than read about it." He also has ADHD and doesn't sit still for long as it is. He does like to watch TV and says that it helps calm him down. He always has several things going on in his head at one time and watching TV helps him tune those out and just tune into the story in the flashing box (my words, not his).

I think guys are taught (intentionally or not) that they need to be productive, and sitting and reading is not considered "productive," but frivolous or a luxury. If my brothers or husband were given a choice of free time, they would all choose doing something outside (hunting, fishing, riding dirt bikes, going up in the mountains, etc.). They have always been like that, even as young boys. They always wanted to go "explore" outside.

I just thought of something. With these men in my life, as young boys if they were caught sitting around by their dads they were put to work. So I think it just comes down the line and is inadvertently ingrained in them to be "doing" something at all times.

As far as encouraging young boys to read more, I'd say read to them and ask their thoughts, get them engaged with the story. And read what they are interested in. Maybe if they found a story they really loved they'd want to read more. Also maybe set aside some type of "quiet" time where they don't have the option of being active. Not that to keep them from being active boys, but to create some balance.

So what do you think? And check out more answers over at Should Be Reading.


  1. I think you have point about some boys being taught to be active and how that affects their desire to sit and read. Hummm. I wonder if audiobooks might somehow be an answer.

  2. Boys are more into outdoor activities. So reading is low in their list of priorities.

    My Musings

  3. I've always thought that around puberty or so boys realize they have to participate in some team sports in order to defend this masculinity image society expects them to! Reading is certainly not a macho thing!

  4. I'm really enjoying this topic b/c I have a 6 yr old son and I'm hoping that he'll love reading as much as I do.

    You said your brothers were always told to get up and do something - so was I. In my family sitting and reading was something that almost never happened, unless it was before bed. My sister always wanted to play outside and I always wanted to stay in and read.

    At this point my son still likes being read to, but only if I don't make him sit still. We're reading a very long book right now and he likes to play while I read. Whatever works!

  5. I think you have some great points, Sunny. My son is a pretty avid reader in the genre he enjoys which is speculative fiction. He would read book after book if I could afford them. We made a deal a while ago because although I fully encourage his reading, I do not want him to limit himself to one genre without at least getting a taste of the other great books out there. So he chooses a book and then I choose a book. This has worked out really well. Right now he is reading my choice "Lord of the Flies" my choice. He just finished Terry Brooks' "Armageddon's Children." He likes to be active and do lots of things, but he likes to chill out with a good book too. I have read to him since he was a baby, and this may have helped. One thing that has helped, I believe, is that I love reading and have made it a priority in our household. In my home, we have televisionless days when reading is done and board games are played. You want to find a book you enjoy so you wont be stuck reading something you aren't interested in. :)