"As a writer and mother of three sons, I was delighted when I discovered Getting Boys to Read." - Jayne, mother/writer in South Carolina

"GettingBoysToRead.com has been an inspiration and a form of support to me, not only as a reading teacher but as a parent of a son who needed reading encouragement." - Judith, teacher in Tennessee

"Your site rocks! Congrats and keep up all of the great work!" - Stacey, teacher librarian in New York

"I wrote your website address on my summer reading list. I hope parents are going to be as enthusiastic as I am when you gave it to me. Good luck." - Sophie, school librarian in New Jersey

"Our son just turned 13 and used to read but seems like it is more of a chore now...thanks for all the great articles. Our goal now is to find some books that are interesting to him and get him back on the right track!" - Cherie, mom in Pennsylvania

"I have now bookmarked GettingBoysToRead.com as one of my favorite library/reading/book related websites." - Rory, teen librarian in Nebraska

"I signed up to "Gettingboystoread" today. What a fantastic site!" - Sade

I think your site sounds very interesting and necessary. - Danielle

Hey Mike! We love to read!! My 4 kids love to read, too.. Although different ways and interests...My 8yo stays late at night just to finish a book he's totally into! Great idea and purpose!

It's a great website and especially helpful for me and my 2 year old son. - Angel

I couldn't stop reading your page- that is fabulous what you do! My son was not originally a reader and I switched him into a magnet school. It has changed him and now that he is entering middle school he made all of the honors classes. I know what you do makes a difference! - Jill

Thanks for the GREAT work you're dooing for kids!! Particularly BOYS. - Sue

Hi Mike, I'm a children's book author and a mother of a 1st-grade boy. I've been following your tweets for awhile and love them. Please keep up the good work! - Laurie

As a former reading teacher, I applaud you. Keep up the good work. - Kim

I am very impressed with your website. It's great to see how varied this incredibly important topic can be presented to parents, community, boys and educators. - Alexa

I am very interested in your blog and will be checking it out. I am a mother to 3 girls and 1 boy. My girls and I love to read, but my husband is not much of a reader and the little guy is already proving to not care for "storytime". I am hoping to someday "convert" my husband to reading and I hope my son will also turn out to be a reader. Anyway, I look forward to reading your tips. - Danielle

I have a 9 year old boy that I currently homeschool. I looked at your site and I joined! Loved it! I think you are really filling a need. - Richele

Hi Mike - Great mission! I have two boys, a mom who's an early childhood literacy specialist, so I know the work you're doing is SO important! Rock on. - Liv

Your blog is great! I know lots of parents who are struggling to get their boys to read...hiring tutors, etc. mixed success. I don't know of any blogs like yours. - Christina

You give me hope. My son hates to read and it has been a struggle. Thanks! - Katherine

Getting boys to read is a particular passion of mine, so it was fun to visit your site. - Bridget

I love the concept behind your blog. Fantastic book reviews focused on encouraging boys to read! - Dolly

I have two boys,still younger now, but one coming up on the age of learning to read. I look forward to viewing your site and getting ideas to help!! Thank you!! - Reannon

I think your website ROCKS!- Tara

It's great to see that someone is caring about what boys read and learn. - Sue

Great site Mike. Boys and school/reading IS such an adventure!! They certainly are wired differently than girls. I've actually found it easier to teach my boys to read, but harder to get them to really love to read for enjoyment. Best of luck to you. - Michelle

Sounds like you're doing some great work! What a great cause... looking forward to connecting, just added you on Twitter - Rebecca

I love your site.Great stuff. I have 2 boys and I love the crusade to get boys to read. Keep up the good work! See you on fb too. - Nora

I'd love to network with you. Reading is a favorite pastime with my boys, and I'd love to share tips to help other moms assist their little ones in knowing the love of reading. -April

I love your blog and you are doing something really important like the awareness of reading , keep it up. - Angela

Wow! What an Awesome sight! I have 3 boys and 1 girl and for the life of me, I just realized Boys def. need more tools and encouragement to read than Girls. What a very useful page you have going! Kelleye

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Phonics is the most widely used foundation for reading development in schools. Simply defined Phonics is a systematic approach to reading through sound and letter association.

Word recognition is essential to reading comprehension. Phonics helps readers identify sounds for each letter and sound out words. For boys who often assume unknown words when they read – instead of recognizing or trying to sound out the word – phonics can help increase their comprehension.

Phonics Sets a Foundation

Phonics is critical to children’s success in learning to read and write. When young children learn and apply relationships between letters and sounds early in their reading experience, they will develop adaptable lifelong skills for word recognition, comprehension and spelling. Yes, even spelling!

Learning the Code

Phonics equips developing readers with the rules and knowledge of letter sounds. When boys learn the rules or “code” to the language, they learn the sounds that correspond to letters and the various letter combinations. The rules can be used like a guide to decode the sounds in a word to make meaning out of it. With practice the letter and sound associations will become more recognizable and intuitive while boys read.

When Close Enough Doesn’t Work

Once the basic foundation of letter to sound correspondence is made, it becomes easier to read both recognizable and unfamiliar words. Very often while reading simple texts, boys who lack strong phonics skills tend to look at the beginning and/or ending of words and guess at it. Sometimes they will get the right word, especially if they use other words in the sentence to figure out the unknown one. However trying to look at the context of the word will not work every time.

For example:
The text may read: “They bought a horse.”
But the reader may read: “They bought a house.”

Only one letter is different between “horse” and “house”, but the difference is important to the meaning. Not looking at every letter in the words and reading one for the other, changes the sentence meaning entirely.

Practices Leads to Success

It is true that the rules to phonics can be tricky. Not only will students not remember every rule of phonics, but there are also many exceptions. Primary aged boys who are still developing recognition depend on rules and can be thrown by the exceptions.  That’s why it is essential that boys who may struggle have lots of opportunities to practice decoding and pronouncing the sounds until they can recognize the printed word.

The students I work with read out loud with me during our sessions. I try not to interrupt them while they are reading, however when they guess a word they do not recognize and change the meaning of the sentence, I will suggest we go back and sound it out together. Often on the first try, the sounded-out word sounds like a verbal jigsaw of phonetic sounds. We’ll repeat the sounds together until it resembles the word more closely. Hopefully if the word appears again in the next paragraph he will either recognize the word or sounding it out will go more smoothly.

Giving boys the opportunity to practice with support demystifies the reading experience for them. It’s important they know that while decoding the word, it might not sound right the first time but it will read naturally with more practice.

Examples of Games for Phonics Support

Letter naming games:
Example: A is for Apple, B is for Button, C is for Cat, etc.
Creating new words by changing one letter:
Change the letter to make new words; see how many you can come up with:
Example: Take the word “cat” and change the vowel to make “cot” or change the first letter to make the word “hat”

Create new words that stem from the original word:
Divide big words into smaller parts and look for familiar patterns; see how many you can find:

re . ac . tion
ac . tion
fr . ac . tion


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