Literacy for Boys

My kids like to make fun of me a lot.  There's the time I made salmon tacos, for example.  And now that I have a teenage driver to scrutinize me, everyone thinks my driving is a bit subpar.  That's why it's so surprising to notice how much they actually do follow my example.  In the past few months, three of my boys have been writing their own books.  And, thanks to me sitting around reading books instead of doing something more productive, all my boys love to read.  (This whole example thing also works with my husband, by the way, who started an exercise program after I started getting fitter.)

I always thought the ideal way to get kids to do something was to sit them down, give them a lecture, and set a goal--or just simply nag.  I thought if I wanted to help my kids with spelling, I should drill them on spelling lists.  It turns out that the process of writing books has helped them with their spelling as much as the old drills.

Finding books for my boys is completely different than it was for my daughter.  My boys tend to love a great series.  If they find one book they really love, they will read everything the author has written.  And they love books about fighting.   I asked them to tell me what their favorite books were this year, and here are their answers:

books about animals
books that are based on a song

Beginning reader:
Dodsworth in New York (series)
Magic Treehouse series
Frog and Toad series

Fourth Grader:
Bullies in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley
Harry Potter series
Gladiator series (I'm not sure if I've approved this one yet.)
Diary of a Wimpy kid series

Sixth Grade and Up:
Christopher Paolini books
Fablehaven series
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Cirque du Freak series

Please let me know if you have any favorite boy books.  I'm starting my Christmas list.


  1. Boys are most definitely different readers than girls. My boys loved the 13th Reality series by James Dashner and The Janitors by Tyler Whitesides. Great characters & lots of LOL moments!

  2. I don't know if you've checked it out yet, but the scouting magazine a few months back recommended a website It has a lot of great recommendations.

    Nathan is my hardest one to find books for. It seems he either hates what I pick out for him or he has already read it. He reads like crazy and there is no way I can keep track of what he has read and hasn't. I have a hard enough time keeping track of what I want to read.

  3. Beginning Chapter Reader:
    Geronimo Stilton series
    The Secrets of Droon series by Tony Abbott

    Fourth Grade and up:
    Alcatraz series by Brandon Sanderson
    Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Capow by Nathan Bransford
    The 39 Clues series by various authors
    Of Mice and Magic (the whole Ravenspell series is good) by David Farland
    The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

    Sixth Grade and up:
    Leviathan (and the series) by Scott Westerfeld
    Ranger's Apprentice Series by John Flanagan
    Maximum Ride (my daughter checked it out, but my son has loved this series as well)

  4. I really liked Percy Jackson. Not awesome, but really good. All the middle school boys I know are reading Riordan's latest series.

    Almost all teens I talk to love getting a series. They know the people, know the characters, and it's like comfortable so they keep going back.

    I love younger people's loyalty to authors.

  5. I'll second the Geronimo Stilton series. My kids LOVE those. My son has also liked FarWorld and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

    Thanks for the recommendations. I'll have to look them up for my kids.

  6. Thanks for the great suggestions, everyone!

  7. You said three of your boys, so I'm wondering how many boys you have?!? We're all about girls at my house, so it's Babysitters Club and Puppy Place and everything else. In fact (if you do have any girls lingering around there) you can check my blog sidebar for the books my third grader has read this year, she is on number 210!

  8. I loaned my friend books from two series, The Great Brain and also Encyclopedia Brown. Sounds like her oldest is enjoying the latter.

  9. Maggie--I have 5 boys and 1 girl. My daughter is 15 and sounds like an older version of your daughter. I'm always picking up her holds at the library.

    Cherish--I love the Great Brain. Those books are so funny.

  10. Hi Rebecca,

    I grew up hating to read, and now write adventures & mysteries that your boys might like. Here's a link
    Books for Boys Blog


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