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Why Some Boys Don't Like To Read

Boys are raised to fit many stereotypes in western society. They should prefer blue to pink, cars to Barbies, and football to ballet. But does being a boy mean neglecting to read?  A study published this year by Dobbs-Oates & Baroody concluded preschool girls show more interest in literacy activities than boys of the same age.

While it’s healthy for boys to have varied interests, literacy is a core competency that no child should miss out on. The reasons pros for reading are insurmountable.  To begin, the more a child is interested in books and reading, the less he is likely to suffer from attention deficit, hyperactivity, withdrawal and aggression. Research has also shown that preschoolers’ early literacy skills are related to  later reading skills and achievement in elementary school. Furthermore, reading skills in first grade have been linked to reading achievement in secondary school. It’s suffix to say, if pre-school boys don’t develop a healthy interest in reading it can affect their reading success much later, even in their high-school years.

Why Don’t Boys Like to Read?

Of course, many boys enjoy reading, just as many girls don’t. Gender preferences work more like a scale than they do a straight separation. Having said that, there are a few possible explanations for boys being less interested in reading than girls.

The purpose of the book can have a lot to do with it. Girls tend to read for enjoyment whereas boys tend to read more practical non-fiction, to learn about something in particular. When you consider this and the fact that the majority of preschool teachers are female, it makes sense that preschool teachers often choose narrative books that speak more to a female audience.

The themes of preschool books also tend to be nurturing, which in general is more geared towards a girl audience than boy. Boys often are groomed to prefer action-driven books that include super-heroes, pirates, or villains.

How Can I Help My Son Develop a Love for Reading?

The more you cater the reading experience to yours son’s unique interests, the more success you will likely have. Try going  to the library together and encourage him to choose a book that interests him. If you would like to expose him to better literary choices, you can invite him to choose one book to read, and ask if you could chose a second one.

Reading as a family can also enhance your son’s interest in books. Children who see their parents reading for pleasure, often pick up the same habit by relating it to a pleasurable activity.

Another great idea is to donate a few good books to your child’s junior kindergarten or pre-school that cater to the interest of your son. This will allow him to share his favourites stories with his classmates. You can also share your child’s literary interests with his teachers, as they are often unaware of what books are best for young boys.

Getting your young child to be interested in books now will have lifelong benefits. It may take some dedication, but once the love of reading is instilled in your child, the rewards will seem well worth it.

Natacha V. Beim is a writer, speaker, teacher, and the founder of Core Education & Fine Arts Junior Kindergarten schools.

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