For many adults, helping a boy find the right book can be a very hard task. This article showcases techniques that I have fine tuned during my 14 years in teaching; 4 as elementary teacher, 6 as an elementary school librarian, and 4 as a librarian  at an at-risk high school.

#1) Tap His Interests (the biggest tip)

Ask him about current hobbies & interests. Ask about his favorite sports team, athlete, musician, etc. Most boys prefer nonfiction.

#2) Take Him to a Library or Bookstore

Once there, let him get a book of his choice.

#3) Show Him 3 Books, Then Leave

Get off your caboose and walk him to the books, literally. Once you help him find 3 books then give him time, in private, to go through them.

#4) Don’t Talk His Ear Off

Boys are not as auditory as girls. Have nice, SHORT, conversations about reading. Instead of one 15 minute discussion, break it apart into five 3 minute conversations spread out over a week or so. Never lecture.

#5) Engage Him Physically – Make a Pile

Gather a handful of books that may be of interest to him. Pile them up on a table, all mixed up with the covers facing up. Boys often like the dig through them.

#6) Build Your Knowledge

There are a TON of books that are popular with guys. The more titles you know, the better. Learn about the issues involved by reading articles throughout our web site.

#7) Be Persistent & Patient

Sometimes it takes weeks, months, or even years to get a boy to read. If you hang in there with him, he will likely come around sooner or later. I was almost 30 years old when I finally "saw the light."

#8) Use His Hormones

Encourage older boys to talk to girls about books. Although girls’ interests will likely be different, boys like to impress girls and show off. If you are a librarian or teacher, get girls to talk to boys. One on one sessions usually work better instead of group settings. Remind boys that many girls are impressed when they see guys reading.

#9) Engage Him in Conversations, but Respect His Privacy

If prompted, a lot of boys like to talk about things they read. Sometimes, however boys can be embarrassed about their reading ability or lack of interest. Encourage him to talk with you, his buddies, or classmates about reading. Just don’t force him.

#10) Make Reading Fun

When you talk about books and reading, make it fun – smile, be happy. Joke around with him about books.

#11) Encourage Various Genres

Offer that he tries a magazine, comic book, newspaper, web site, graphic novel, science fiction, adventure, biograpahy, etc.

#12) Don’t Give Up

I’m sad to say this, but I hated to read as a kid. My impression was that reading was hard, boring, and not for boys. If only more adults in my life would have smothered me with books that I liked rather then ones that they liked. I probably would have grown up with a better attitude and self image about reading. Getting some boys to read can be a difficult task. If you are dedicated and strive to learn more, he will appreciate it some day even if he doesn’t tell you.

What Tips Do You Know?

Please help me improve this list. Add your comment with a skill or technique that will help a boy find the rights books.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Paul Gray

    I would be very interested in finding a source for quality graphic novels.  I usually buy books from eBay because I can get hard cover books really cheap.  I think the hard cover gives an impression of importance.  Anyway, I am reluctant to buy graphic novels from eBay because I am concerned about inappropriate content.  Any suggestions for sources would be greatly appreciated.


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