Many boys are reluctant readers.  Studies will tell you all the reasons why this happens, but what you want is a solution.  After homeschooling two sons, I can certainly agree that they didn’t have a good appetite for reading.  They both learned to read quickly, but soon came to think that reading wasn’t fun.

Encourage Reluctant Readers

Looking at the “readers” available to children in elementary levels, it can be easy to see why boys might be bored or reluctant to read.  Readers are designed to have a balance of stories and focused on including certain types of words and sentences.  Many readers are part of a comprehensive plan to incorporate a spelling and vocabulary list.  The book authors have many requirements when they write these stories.  All of this can result in a boring book filled with stories that seem to have no relevance to young boys.

When I found out how this was causing my boys to dislike reading, I made changes to their curriculum.  There are many ways to encourage reluctant readers.

The first thing to do is to improve their available choices.  Boys can have very different interests, but most young boys tend to like these types of books:

  • What will I be when I grow up-  There are many grade/age level books about this.  (ex. I Want To Be A Fireman)
  • Series books = The amazing amount of book series will allow you to help him select suitable books.  My son was hooked on a series called, “Hank the Cowdog“.  He read every single one, and luckily they were at our library.
  • Humor books – Boys love humor, and sometimes it’s pretty crude, right? (burping and farting)  Books of jokes or just silly books are fine to read.  Boys will read things that make them laugh, and they’ll share with you every funny thing!
  • Science-fiction – Boys love science-fiction and there are books at every level in this genre


If you keep your boys bookshelf stocked with books that get them excited about reading, the love for reading will grow.  As long as they’re reading, the level of reading will improve.  I’ll be writing more about other great ways to encourage good reading skills.  First, they need to read and enjoy it!

Disclosure: Affiliate link included.

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

How To Encourage the Reluctant Reader

6 thoughts on “How To Encourage the Reluctant Reader

  • February 15, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks for these thoughts on dealing with our unique children. None of my children have been identical in their learning styles, and it’s good for me to be reminded to just keep them reading!

    • February 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Isn’t it remarkable how God created them all so different? Thanks for your kind words, Michele 🙂

  • February 20, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Of my nine children, six are currently reading—three boys and three girls. Out of those six, I’ve got only ONE reluctant reader! Yay! My 14 year old son has just never enjoyed reading. What’s interesting is that he doesn’t enjoy much media at all. When the others sit down to watch TV or a movie, he likes to be in the room but is usually tinkering with Legos or some other hands on project. He likes to be on the computer, but mostly so he can work on programming his Lego machines or look up “how to” videos. I’ve done “all the stuff” to help him develop a love for reading—had lots of books available, read to him, gave incentives for reading (which DOES work for him—but is not how I want to do it). He’s just not a reader and at 14, I’m thinking he probably won’t be. Here’s what I DO appreciate about him in regard to reading: he is obedient. If his assignment requires reading (which many of the things I assign do—including one book per month for composition) he will read it without complaint. If I tell him I’d like him to spend this hour reading a book, he smiles a “knowing” smile and grabs his Bible. In fact, he really loves reading the word of God and is keeping track of what books he reads or I read to him so he will know when he’s gone through it entirely. I suppose I can agree to this compromise. As long as my reluctant reader doesn’t forsake the most important book, I suppose he can let all others go. 🙂

    Thanks for linking with the Homemaking Party. I hope you have a lovely week!

    Mrs. Sarah Coller

    • February 20, 2017 at 10:11 am

      He sounds like a wonderful son, obedient and reading God’s Word. I understand, because one son of mine was similar. He sounds like he would love to learn coding and computer skills. My son now has a computer career, and reading techie books was great for him because he was interested in them.

      Thanks for sharing. I love hearing about how boys’ think, especially. It’s fascinating how God made each child with their own special talents 🙂

  • February 20, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    My son definitely fits the reluctant reader category. He just turned 9. He CAN read anything he wants, but getting him to enjoy it is my problem. Luckily, his teacher is so willing to work with him and feels it’s more important he enjoy reading than to read something just because the curriculum says to.

    • February 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Your son has a wonderful teacher! Being flexible with curriculum is one of the best ways to create life-long learners (and readers). Thanks for sharing, Emily 🙂


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