Boys and books? Where would we start?

Kids need to start reading early. Younger boys enjoy sitting on your lap and sharing a story. Make reading a special time you share with kids. Some family favourites are “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “The Great Big Enormous Turnip”. We would say to kids “In bed by 7.30: you can read in bed for half an hour”. It helps for kids to see you with books. Talk to them about books you read. Dad, this means you!

Make sure boys have lots of choice. When we were about 14 a teacher brought into the room a big box of books and dumped them on his desk. He said “Grab a book. If you like it, read on. If you don’t chuck it back and try another”. That’s not a bad approach. The books he brought in were war stories, about men in danger, men who were shot down in the London Blitz, The Great Escape and so on.

Newsagents say that girls often come in for stories about horses and other animals. And stories about girls and their relationships with family, other girls, and boys.

Boys look for something more gutsy.

It might be Disney adventures when they are young. Perhaps they look for anything in comics- Spiderman, Superman and similar. Then it’s computer games, skateboards and surfing. Boys’ reading reflects their active approach to life. K-Zone and similar net-based reading is also popular. Boys often want to read a book based on a favourite movie. In my experience boys are strongly visual. They want books that have pictures or suggest an action adventure they can picture.

Some trends are that boys love books that are edgy or wild. Captain Underpants John Marsden or anything about farting and similar, are all popular. Boys seem to love being grossed out.

Males lean towards non-fiction. Boys want to read the Guiness Book of Records. Or maybe some wild stories about pirates. Or studies of the environment presented in their own language.

Boys reflect the influence of their fathers and older brothers. Grown-up males are reading about cars or computers or fitness.

#DrPeterWest #genderequity #boyseducation #gendergap #fatherandson #boysachievement #menshealth #raisingboys

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