It can be a struggle to keep boys interested in reading as they get older. Teaching boys to evaluate books is an effective way to engage boys and keep them engaged! By asking questions that go beyond “what happened in this story?” evaluation empowers boys as readers and can also make them better thinkers.

Evaluation that Promotes Comprehension

Evaluation is a great comprehension builder. Evaluating books encourages boys to read and think deeply about the text they have just read. In order to discuss the events or details of the text, they will need to have a good understanding of the plot, theme and character motivation in the story.

Evaluation ideas for reading comprehension:

  • Discuss the language and writing style of the author.
  • Create a timeline to show the sequential order of events.
  • Discuss the cause and effect of the events in the book.
  • Do you think others would enjoy reading this book?

Evaluation that Develops Critical Thinking

In addition to demonstrating reading comprehension, evaluation also helps develop critical thinking skills. Moving beyond what happened in the book and onto why specific events happened or why the author shared certain details will help boys learn to effective analysis skills. This type of evaluation also allows boys to be critical of books, which can be empowering for them.

Evaluation ideas for analytical thinking:

  • Why do you think the author wrote this text?
  • Does the author make you care about the topic?
  • What do you think about the title the author choose?

Evaluation that Encourages Self-Reflection

When evaluating, boys will use their personal experiences and knowledge to think critically about the ideas presented in the text. Their own opinions will be critical to analyzing the author’s choice of events and character reactions. They will be reflecting on their own thoughts and how they relate to the text, and may even develop new opinions based on their evaluation. For boys who typically prefer real-life and practical topics, self-reflective evaluation can create a deeper understanding and appreciation for the book.

Evaluation ideas for self-reflection:

  • Do you agree with the characters actions?
  • What would you have done in a similar situation?
  • What is the viewpoint of the author? Do you agree?

In addition to improving comprehension, evaluation helps boys develop their analytical skills and personal reflection skills. These are crucial skills that will be useful to boys in Math, Science, Debates and any situation that requires critical thinking.

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