It's no secret–boys score lower on reading tests than girls. They read much less than girls, and they are much more likely to identify themselves as “non-readers.”
As the mom of boys, I worry about this–especially with my youngest son. It's not that he can't read, it's just not an activity that he'll choose to do on his own.
I'm not an expert on getting children to read, but there are two things that have worked with my son.
- Encourage him regardless of what he's reading. While I wanted him to dig into Harry Potter, he liked Captain Underpants better. I had to learn that reading Minecraft strategy books and joke books is still reading. So now, I don't tell him to put away those books. I try to engage him by asking questions even if I really don't want to learn anything about Minecraft strategies! 🙂
- Let him pick out his own books (within reason). I read mostly fiction, so I just assumed that my son would want to read fiction too. But it doesn't work like that. He would much rather read non-fiction books about space or animals or survival skills. (You can check out these books by clicking through my affiliate link to Amazon.)
By giving him freedom to choose and encouraging him in those choices, my son reads much more. Over time, I hope that he'll begin to love reading like I do.
Cub Scouts can help boys' literacy too. We all know that each rank has its own handbook. Encourage your Cub Scouts to read the requirements in the handbook that they'll be working on each week. You'll also find that there are numerous requirements and electives that involve reading.
- Tiger Elective Adventures – Tiger Tales 3: Read a tall tale with your adult partner.
- Wolf Adventure – Duty to God Footsteps 4: Read a story about people or groups of people who came to America to enjoy religious freedom.
- Bear Elective Adventures – Roaring Laughter 2: Practice reading tongue twisters.
- Webelos/AOL Elective Adventure – Adventures in Science 3i: Read a biography of a scientist. Tell your den leader or the other members of your den what the scientist is famous for and why his or her work is important.
Who knows? By telling your son that he'll earn Cub Scout advancement credit, it just might encourage him to read more!
How do you get your boys to read?
Yours in Scouting,