This is a growing list of general quick tips for getting boys to read.

  1. Most boys prefer to read NON-FICTION.
  2. It’s critical to RESPECT a boy’s reading interests, even if we think it stinks.
  3. Most boys prefer things that are SHORT, like Tweets :-)
  4. Boys love MAGAZINES! They are chunkable and informative.
  5. Boys like to DISCUSS things they read, but are often shy. Ask questions, engage them. 
  6. Boys need ENCOURAGEMENT with reading. Remember to tell them "Good Job, Keep it Up" 

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Posted in: Content

{ 26 comments… add one }

  • Sophie Blavet

    For reluctant readers Graphic Novels are just what boys or girls like to check out from my library. I grew up with graphic novels and they are wonderful. Boys will gravitate toward them because they are colorful, they are entertaining and certainly fast to read. No difficult plots, easy story lines and lots of colorful illustrations. Just what boys like. Alleluia for Graphic Novels. An easy way to approach literature.

  • Sara DowntoEarth

    Turn off (or seriously limit) the TV! We didn’t start out to eliminate TV, but once we started turning it on for specific shows and not just because it was there, we started playing games and reading as a family instead. Now it’s on for videos and the morning weather report; (we’re saving money on cable, too)
    One extra to little or no TV is that my boys no longer ask for the latest toys, etc. Amazing how much less “necessary” they are without all the exposure to advertising.

  • Anonymous

    I only keep the current year in reference and the rest in Non-fiction. They are very popular.Hardly ever on the shelves!!

  • maseman

    The Guinness books are definitely on the list of top 10 books I have to reshelve because someone’s read one while in the library and left out. It’s usually boys that I see reading these–especially 9th and 10th graders. Usually the big shiny editions get read “in-house”. The smaller paperbacks are more likely to get checked out.

    I’ve been thinking that I need to get some other books that will help students branch out from Guinness and have more to read. Some find the graphic novels on their own, but I want some more non-fiction that is appealing in the same way the Guinness books are. Any suggestions?

  • Miss Librarian

    Boyz are into graphix. If it is in the form of a comic book, THEY READ!

  • Jessica

    Try the Ripley’s Believe it or Not books. They are nice hardbacks with lots of pictures. My boys love them.

  • Jessica

    Try the Ripley’s Believe it or Not books. They are nice hardbacks with lots of pictures. My boys love them.

  • Book Lady

    School Librarian-
    My boys read lots of different things depending on age/ grade level. Most of my younger students want to read Sports Illustrated and Boys Life… magazines. They also love nonfiction starting with sports, and dinosaurs and moving into other interests. Then they go to series. like: Horowitz- Alex Rider, Geronimo Stilton, Matt Christopher, Haddix, etc

    If I book talk it they want it.

  • donna

    Hi, I would appreciated a list of graphic novels out there that would be appropriate for my the upper intermediate/sec/high school students at my k-12 school. We are a pubic school but we are in a rural Mennonite farming community so I am looking for a list of graphic books that do not have sex or swearing. I have the Bone series and they love it and the Star Wars graphics. Some Hardy Boys, Tin Tin and Astrix. Some Classic graphic books ie. Robin Hood, Amelia Ehart, The Three Musketeers… What else is out there in graphic series that may catch the attention of my reluctant reader boys into either adventure or humor?
    Thanks for your help with this.

  • judibea

    Well, I am at the H.S. level and the high school guys here want “street” fiction or “non-fiction”. This gives you an idea of the “patron-type” where I am:
    Here are some titles that have had “come back for me” results in my 7 years as a H.S. librarian:

    Child Called It (both guys and girls read it)
    Deathwatch—R. White— its a good one!
    Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
    Hatchet (thank goodness for Gary Paulsen)
    Jude by Kate Morgenthau(guys wanting crime to happen in the first chapter—excellent book! An adult book but appeals to YA)
    -Son of the Mob by Korman 9this one is humorous but any “mob” crime book often gets asked for!
    -Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn
    -Monster by Walter Dean Myers
    -Movie books—yep! that gets them interested! When movies come out like Troy I had better be ready for the requests!
    -Wolf Rider by Avi
    -Sports books: Crutcher, Deuker, Dygar
    -Adventure: Deathwatch
    -War: Fallen Angels, some ask for non-fiction “war” books about marines, navy seals…

    Adult books with YA appeal:
    -Amytiville Horror (they like movie books)
    -Bourne Ultimatum (another movie book–crime, etc)

    Finding what appeals to them:
    -Guy as a main character
    -Nice pace to the book with an “early” crisis/action within the first chaptersure helps and a more

    Fantasy readers:
    fantasy readers will let you know right away who they are and will talk your ear off about the complexities of the books they like—they are an “definite” group type and more indipendant reader types in my experience.

    Non-readers have gotten a kick start by having a good reader’s advisory interview that helps you get an idea as to what appeals to them.

    We created a comfy reading zone with MANGA books and they “hang” out and almost do like “group” reading! So get some Manga going! This group has a club — popular club meets in the library!

  • judibea

    Oh do pick up a copy of Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen. the main character is sent to his aunt and uncles who have a farm because of a parent’s alcohol problem. He isn’t eager to go but his cousin introduces him to the funny side of farm life! Get ready for some good laughs!

  • Lynn Garthwaite

    I worked in an elementary school library for ten years, and I definitely noticed that there was a dearth of fun, adventure books available in those very early chapter books. If we don’t catch kids right when they start reading on their own, we may lose them for a long time.

    When I started writing my own books, this was what I had in mind. My series are short, early chapter books aimed at those early readers who want some mystery, adventure and fun in a short chapter format. I’ve done many author visits in schools and the overwhelming question I get is – when are you going to write another book? It’s extremely gratifying.

    I named my main character Dirkle Smat because kids seem to love those goofy names. Dirkle and his Explorers Club friends find adventure everywhere and need to use their ingenuity to get themselves out of a sticky situation. The fourth book will be out later this year.

    I really hope that I’ve helped fill that niche of short chapter books for early readers. I have about 25 more stories in my head, so I better get back to work!

  • Andy

    Thanks to Mike for this website and to all for their comments. I am a middle school librarian who works daily to get books into my students’ hands.

    I think the most important part of my job is asking and recommending: asking what they like or what the last good book they read was (even if it was Doctor Suess years ago) and then recommending something they might enjoy.

    There also must be no strings attached. I want my students to take a stack, try the first paragraph or two of them all, and if none appeal to them, they should turn them all in and try again. (My feelings certainly won’t be hurt!) They need to know that a life changing book is waiting for them and if they’re persistent, they’ll find it.

    Here are my top recommended reads for middle school and lower high school guys:
    Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford
    Playing With Matches by Brian Katcher
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
    Here Lies Arthur by Phillip Reeve
    Doppelganger by David Stahler
    Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
    Wrestling Sturbridge by Rich Wallace
    Losing Is Not An Option by Rich Wallace
    Three Clams and An Oyster by Randy Powell
    Gym Candy by Carl Deuker
    The Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp

    Guys Really Do Read…if they are given the right books!

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  • Alyssa Ker

  • Alyssa Ker

    Boys like to DISCUSS things they read, but are often shy. Ask questions, engage them.
    MUST High School Address | MUST High School Bogus

  • Brigid Park

    This gets you into all the genres of fiction and their genre types. How romantic, exciting etc.

  • vanessa_cruz0615

    -Boys love gross books, they want funny things all the time.Learn more at

  • Barbara Radisavljevic

    Try reading aloud to them and quit when it starts to get interesting. My son loved the humor of Patrick McManus in Jr. High.

  • thebookdragon

    Succinctly: Get a handle on what they are interested in, feed the interest, then build on that foundation. “Oh, you liked Captain Underpants? They’re all checked out? Try Ricky Ricotta–they’re by the same guy!”

    At my school, I am well blessed with some avid readers–boys AND girls. My avid reader boys seem to be in two camps, those looking for humor and those looking for series adventure. On the humor front, I can’t keep the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series or the Captain Underpants series on the shelves. On the adventure front, the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan are in close competition with Gregor the Overlander and the Pendragon series. The Bone graphic novels by Jeff Smith have also done a LOT to pull in some of my more reluctant readers.

    Probably the BIGGEST number of requests I get from my boys? Guinness Book of World Records (any edition, doesn’t matter) and Scary Stories to tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. I think the key for me is to stay in touch with the interests they’ve got. My number of reserves has skyrocketed since I moved the Guinness books out of “Reference” (I don’t know why they were there in the first place) and started letting them circulate.

  • ayoubmarket

    Hello, I love every point out there, I’ll try to help you more on Facebook by inviting members to join the caus eand come here to GBR.

  • C Fraser

    Guess I have been blessed. Never had difficulty getting boys in our school to read. I’m at a high school and most of our boys read graphic novels, particularly Walking Dead, anything Marvel prints, Y The Last Man, and, of course, anything Miller and Moore put out. Both boys and girls are into the Twilight Series as well. (Yes, the boys are actually reading this series!!!)

  • Heather

    Just to mention that I have homeschooled my 2 boys for 3 years. They are in 2nd grade and Kindergarten.

    Like the others have said, my sons like non-fiction and encyclopedia-type books.

    Also, I found it helped his reading IMMENSELY when he began spelling workbooks at the age of 4. Since he enjoys writing his letters, the fill-in-the-blank spelling books really taught him to read. Within 2 weeks, he was reading faster and larger words. Of course, I also do phonics with him but I think implementing spelling lessons BEFORE starting formal reading lessons is the way to go. I know it’s bucking the trend, but it worked for us!

  • Holli

    I agree with encouraging movement. I also homeschool my son, and I find his need to move while he works massively distracting (to me) and frustrating, but he will work steadily for our entire work time, as long as I don’t tell him to settle down or be still. His dad can’t handle it! But it’s one of the reasons we homeschool, and I’m glad to be able to allow him the freedom he needs to be comfortable learning.
    The Book Dragon mentioned Bone. My son is crazy about Bone. I bought it for myself, and he stole it!! =P I’m all to happy to share, though. For the most part, I really don’t like comics, but I recognize that my son is a different person and is allowed to have different taste from me, and I want him to love reading, so I encourage him to read anything that makes him happy. And I read to him other things that I think he will like, and sometimes we find one that he really enjoys, so hopefully, he’s learning to have an open mind.

  • Anonymous

    I have been a teacher for 17 years, ten of which have been as a teacher librarian. I have been saying many of the same things posted here for years, but having been living it the last 7 years when I had the first of my of two sons.
    They love to read. We started with the Usborne That’s Not My series where they got to touch trucks, dinosaurs, etc and now I think we read everything there ever has been about Star Wars.
    They will read the chapter books they need to for school (usually standing up and wiggling about) but they don’t check them out at the library. The library is a place they love and insist on going to. I try to introduce them to new section every couple of months. 700’s graphic novels (many Disney here), Early chapter books (Scooby-Doo, Thomas); 600’s have transportation books (trains, fighter jets); 500’s have the animals. They also love that we can check out magazines and DVDs. I always let them get some of each. DVD’s, magazines, books. Whatever it takes to keep them loving the library and reading!

  • moonlight_zone

    Most of the boys or men I know (Including my husband), they prefer something more interactive. They prefer surfing the net or watching television rather than picking a good book and spend the whole rest day with it!


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