Let The Boys Read by T.J.Akers

Student Reading Books Shows Learning

Let me start with a few quotes from “fourcircleslearning.com”

  • According to the national center for Education Statistic, teen females have outperformed teen males on reading assessments at a relatively constant rate from 1971 to 2008. By middle school they (boys) are nearly 1 & ½ years behind girsl.
  • Boys of all ages generally read less than girls.


  • Middle school aged boys believe reading is much harder than it was in elementary school.


  • Boys claim reading becomes less enjoyable as they become older. (Perhaps because we make them read and interpret genres they cannot connect to?)


Why am I bringing this up? Because as a male, I am alarmed by the fact that one of the most important skills there is, reading, is not being mastered by upcoming generations of boys. Most of my work, not writing novels but information technology, is so text driven that if I didn’t read well, I couldn’t do my job. Even more important, as a customer service representative I am called upon to interpret written instructions for my customers. (Yes, I know, sigh, you’d think grown adults could read the directions themselves and follow them, but they can’t).


Student Reading Book Shows Research


Are there strategies we can use to help our boys? YES!

  • Give boys texts they like to read (I also highly recommend audio books as well). Duh! This doesn’t happen in our middle schools and high schools as much as it needs to.
  • Allow boys to actively respond to texts. Boys don’t like to sit around and discuss literature (I did growing up, but I guess I’m a mutant). According to fourcircleslearning.com , “Research shows they want to actively and physically engage with a text.” What does that mean? Provide students the chance to act out  portions of a story.


  • True story, I once took a Sunday School class and created a scene from Beowulf. It’s amazing what you can do with a lot of cardboard, construction paper, and glue (don’t forget to add copious amounts of imagination). It was a hit.


  • Know your boys and appeal to their individual interests and preferences. It’s hard to read something that doesn’t have much application to your life, (especially when there are other things that actually do but you’re not allowed to do them right now). I’m not going to get on teachers about this, as much as I want to get on parents. Parents, help your boys read. If you don’t like to read, get them involved in summer reading programs and things like that.


  • Boys need role models. Okay Dad, here’s your chance to step up to the plate. Read to your kid. Let them see you read. No Dad? There are uncles, grandfathers, cousins, teachers, and coaches of all kinds.



Kids Rock Sign As Symbol for Childhood And Children


10 thoughts on “Let The Boys Read by T.J.Akers

  1. I wonder how much of it has to do with learning styles? Boys are less inclined to sit still. I think your idea of listening to audio books, perhaps while doing something else, is a great idea. But what do I know? I have daughters.


    • Learning styles have a great deal of impact on boys as readers, but schools generally give only modest lip service to this after all these years. Boys don’t like to sit still for long, but as they mature, get better at it.


  2. This is a great post. I Just thought I’d share a crazy experience my sister Just had. My nephew happens to Love to read. A variety of kinds from fiction to non-fiction, biology, technical books on how to build things, etc… My sister got quit the shock to go to a parent teacher conference and be told by the teacher that they needed to limit his reading time. He’s doing great across the board in all subjects and is actually above his grade level in more subjects than one. I found this shocking news!! So he has a Love to read and possibly learn more sometimes through educational books. How is this a bad thing??


    • Studies prove completely opposite of what that teacher suggests. Good readers do better in school and work (as they get older). Reading is never a bad thing, unless he’s not getting enough sleep or getting his work done.


    • Did they say why he should stop reading so much?


      • Believe it or not Lisa one of the things the teacher mentioned was she was afraid his love for reading would cause him to become a recluse and not have any friends. She thought it was hurting his social circles. BAWWHH!! That’s what I say. He’s a great kid and his peers have no qualms with him. He’s kind and considerate.
        She made an interesting s


      • Sorry early send. The statement was that a lot of the young people that have lost it and gone on shooting sprees at schools were recluses. Is this a proven fact?


        • The teacher sounds well meaning but clueless. I got the feeling school shooters were more into video games than reading. 😉 but yes, I’m pretty sure they were recluses with a big dose of delusional. Poor kids.


  3. This is a trend that has been around for years. I see boys now into video games much more. I wonder if more books were written on popular characters in video games, could we pull them away just for an occasional read? I know there are books out on the characters of War Craft.
    I also see it in illustrating. Boys are really actively involved until about grade 5, then it’s not cool anymore. However, I’m trying to bring video game creatures into my clinics. The scarier the better it seems. We have to go where they are.


  4. Loraine bring up a good point. If we can up the “cool” factor in what boys are offered to read, that will help. My son enjoyed graphic novels. A quick search revealed there are many choices for both kids and teens.

    I think we can turn young males into readers for life if we direct them toward reading material they can relate to at various stages throughout their life. Whether it be sports, music, fantasy, technology, paranormal, video games & comics, history, politics–it’s all about finding things they’re interested in.


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