It took months of persistence, but Ralph was finally able to take a few moments from his crazy schedule to answer a few of my questions. As you likely know, Ralph Fletcher is the industry guru for boys and writing. For years I've freely promoted his book, Boy Writers, as my favorite for getting boys to write - be sure to read my book review. Here are the highlights from my interview with him...

How-to topics appeal to boys' desire for practical, concrete and hands-on information. Reading or writing this sub-genre of non-fiction is appropriate for boys of any age group, reading level, or with any interest – sports, science, hobbies, anything!

Like boys and action, reading and writing go hand-in-hand. Both are critical skills for literacy. It is through writing that boys will learn to formulate thoughts and improve their creativity and thinking skills.

Unfortunately boys who are reluctant to do one, usually resist the other as well. Here are five ideas, that utilize activities and interests that most appeal to boys, to get them writing:


There’s a comic book store in my small town. I never went in it until recently; it’s located right next to the tattoo parlor and gives off a rather shady vibe. Boys lurk about (many tattooed) with paper bags that carry their latest comic-book purchase. 

I had always thought those who loved comic books and graphic novels were a small faction of collectors who obsessed over the drawings and the details of vintage Superman stories: kind of like that lazy, overweight, weirdly obsessive guy on The Simpsons. 
Other than considering the shop a place I wasn’t particularly interested in entering because its clientele scared me and I’m not really into comic books, I didn’t give it much thought. Now, I’m glad it’s in our small town. Comic books can be literary gems that entice struggling readers into becoming literate, creative, and imaginative beings.
Comic Books are Educational Tools
Comic books are slowly becoming a

Those troubled that the advancement of technology is turning our kids into imbeciles should take a look at this article from Wired magazine: Clive Thompson on the New Literacy.  

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways that people relate to one another. Through stories, whether fact or fiction, we share experiences and communicate information to one another. Digital Storytelling - which utilizes technology to tell stories - is a modern interpretation of an ancient form of communication.


How it Works

With digital storytelling, boys tell their story using various technologies and media instead of just the traditional paper and pen. They use visuals and audio narration such as: photos, artwork, video clips, music and audio clips. These materials are combined together to create a multimedia story.



"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