The Big Secret: How to Ignite Boys’ Passion for Reading

I recently overhead a fellow educator say, “We need to show boys that reading is not just for girls.” I think my head spun around. Am I missing out on some boy secret? Do we need to dress up like sports teams so that boys know that reading is for boys too? I’ve raised two boys who are voracious readers. The kind who steal the books that I check out from the library, who are best buds with the school librarian, who sit in the restaurant reading a book and strike up a conversation about it with the server whose day job happens to be high school teacher. So, how do we show boys that reading is for boys? I say we start by showing boys that reading is our priority, our passion. Start by introducing boys to some really great books. And I always say there is no such thing as a boy book or a girl book. There are only great books! If you are a parent, read aloud to your boys from day one. There is so much to be gained by reading aloud to a child. Take boys on regular trips to the book store and library, start a boys’ book club, give them books as gifts and model an avid reading life yourself. If you are the father or other adult in the boy’s life – do this all the more. If you teach boys – light their passion for literacy by showing them great books. Do read alouds. Do book talks. Encourage boys to join GoodReads. Invite authors to your school or classroom. Encourage boys to recommend books to their friends. Create a reading community in your classroom.

Here’s the big secret: if you want to ignite boys’ passion for reading – share your own passionate reading life with them. And here’s yet another secret: if you want to ignite girls’ passion for reading, reread this prescription but replace “boy” with “girl” and “he” with “she”.


6 thoughts on “The Big Secret: How to Ignite Boys’ Passion for Reading

  1. Excellent! You are right on! But one thing I had to do in my reading class — and I hated doing it — I assigned books to groups of boys. They just were not reading. They’d pull a different book off the shelf every day and pretend. So I found sets of books [Hatchet. Moves Make the Man, etc.] and assigned them. At the end of reading time, they just have a few lines to write about the book. But then twice a week, they just talk about their book. I don’t have any questions. It was fun to watch them talk; they even joined the other groups to see what their books were about. And then came the blurt, “Don’t tell me; I haven’t got to that part yet.” Yeah, I think it worked. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your passion!


  2. AMEN to, “There are no such things as boy books or girl books. There are only great books!” Sing it sister. I have an eleven year boy who I have read to since he was a baby and he does not discriminate books according to gender. I couldn’t agree with you more. We have to model the value of reading! Great post πŸ™‚


  3. I absolutely agree! Mine is a reading family — both my parents, my brother, my sister, me. My father always had a pile of books he was working through, my brother practically inhales books. It would never have occurred to any of us that reading was only for girls. We’ve assigned gender to so many things, as if we can’t bear not have these restricting lines drawn. But to gender reading? That’s crazy. As you said, “And I always say there is no such thing as a boy book or a girl book. There are only great books!

    And thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciated your comment!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s