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Friday, September 21, 2012

Books for "Don't Like to Read" Boys

I was a HUGE reader growing up.

I distinctly remember my Mom urging me to get out of my room and go outside.
I remember walking up and down the kids' fiction section of the library, running my finger along the spines of the neatly lined books and feeling like I had "read them ALL."
I hadn't, of course, but was in that stage of being ready for more but not wanting to give up the occasional illustration.

Likewise, my daughter likes to read.
She is not reading as much now, because she is busy with school and activities and homework, but as a younger child, she was often seen with a book in hand.
Chris also likes to read and will often head to the car with a book.

Alas, my darling son Trey has not yet been bitten by the reading bug.
At least, that is how I perceived him.
However, I have come to find, watching him carefully, that the boy does indeed like to read, or at least doesn't dread it to the degree that I had imagined,
but he is HIGHLY SELECTIVE about what he's willing to read.

In other words, he doesn't choose to read because he enjoys the act of reading itself,
but can be easily convinced to read if given the "right" material.

So, for all of you who might have a boy like this, I have compiled a list of Books My Son Will Read.

1) The "I Survived" series.

These are not hard books to read. The type is relatively large. They are adventurous in nature, suspenseful and exciting. They are deeply rooted in fact. They are rated at Scholastic Reading Level 4.
Among the titles you will find "I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005" and "I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912."

2) The "Animorphs" series.

Trey asked me to get him some of this series from the library. You can bet my ass was at the library the next day grabbing a couple. Also by Scholastic, these are rated Reading Level 5. There are no pictures in these books (or the above series either) and the print is smaller, the books thicker. Again, these are in the danger/adventure genre.

3) Planet Tad

My kids are HUGE fans of MAD magazine. I am not so much because the humor can be dicey and the language a bit raw. That being said, I am a fan of seeing my child read, so we do get the magazine. Also, my two older children being who they are, have been known to censor words or rip out whole pages before Trey even gets his mitts on it. ;-)  I love those kids!
Anyway, Planet Tad is a book that one of the boys saw in the bookstore (I can't remember which son!) and said "Ooooh! That's from MAD!" Ordinarily, I won't buy the kids treats or gifts unless it is a special occasion but in this case, I was glad I did. All three kids, from 10-17 have read this book, the boys multiple times each. It is written by the Head Writer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The back of the book ranks it as ages 8-12 but it seems to have an ageless appeal in my house.

4) The "You Wouldn't Want To.." series

This is a HUGE hit in my house and has been for years. All three kids like it but the boys *love* them and have read each and every title (and there are *many*) repeatedly. Again by Scholastic, titles include things like "You Wouldn't Want to be a Mayan Soothsayer" or "You Wouldn't Want to be a Sumerian Slave." Highly illustrated with cartoon like pictures and funny captions, along with some patches of longer text, these books are fun to read, a little gross and absolutely PACKED with historical information. Fun and learning? Can't be beat!

5) This is a new series that I stumbled upon last week, quite by accident. I brought one home and Chris (almost 14) loved it so much that he biked to the library the next day to pick up three or four others in the series. The two brothers read these cover to cover in short order and I heard them discussing them at various points when they were not reading them. Essentially, they are called "Monster Fight Club" (you get the boy appeal immediately, don't you?) and then the other part of the title varies, such as "Creatures of Myths and Legends" or "Outlaws and Villains from History." Each little min-section of the book takes two things, for example, two dinosaurs (Ankylosaurus and Triceratops) and, on a two page spread, gives the "profile" of each. Before turning the page, you pick which you think would "win the battle." Then, upon turning the page, you read about the battle and see who "won." Big hit, short read. Again, fact based so some sneaky learning involved!

6) Graphic Novels. I know, I know. In some ways, you are like, really? Not so much reading. But I think, for a more reluctant reader, the more essential thing becomes the act of reading and enjoyment from said act. The rest will come organically and in time. So go ahead and check out books like the Fangbone Series or the Pokemon series. You can also get other books, like the Goosebumps series or The Lightning Thief in graphic novel form. All three of my kids have read and re-read the books by this author:

and all have enjoyed this series as well:

7) Lastly, don't discount the value of magazines. They are not intimidating to a reluctant reader, are heavily illustrated and are a little gift that comes each month. Favorites in our house are the aforementioned MAD magazine, the Archie digests (again, all three read this very happily!), Sports Illustrated Kids, Ranger Rick and National Geographic Kids. And for Lego lovers, the LEGO magazine is a free subscription.

I hope you have found these suggestions useful.
Please feel free to pass along this link or post it on your Facebook page or blog if you have friends whose kids might benefit from these suggestions as well.
I have come to find that almost all kids like to read, when the "right" material for them is available.

Please also add a comment of other books or magazines my son might like!


LearningAndBurning said...

One of the things I just can't understand about my kids is the fact that I love to read and they don't. I just don't get it. Without reading, life is just so much more boring!

Natalie said...

Dude, you are a blogging maniac lately! Love the list! Will definitely be grabbing some for Finn.