How to Motivate Preteen Boys to Read

By Shelley Frost
Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Getting your son to sit still long enough to read a book seems like a challenge, but the family attitude you create toward reading can convince him to pick up a book. Strategies to make reading seem relevant and enjoyable are key to turning your preteen boy into a bookworm. Being forced to read at school causes some kids to avoid reading for pleasure at all costs. Other preteens may avoid books if reading doesn't come easily. Everything from his choice of books to your reading habits plays a role in developing his attitude toward reading.

Step 1

Read for your own enjoyment around the house to model pleasure reading. Talk to your preteen about your reading and how much you enjoy it. Try reading young adult literature that he might enjoy as a way to connect to your preteen and spark his interest in reading.

Step 2

Keep books accessible to everyone in the house and on the go. Store books or magazines in the car so your son can read to pass the time while running errands or riding to school each morning. Give him a bookshelf in his room where he can store his personal reading materials.

Step 3

Steer your son toward books about his hobbies or interests, which have probably changed since his younger years. As a preteen, he might enjoy sports, technology, animals. If he loves to skateboard, look for books about famous skateboarders or how the boards are made. If he likes to see how things work, check out books that show how motors work. He's more likely to crack open the book if he gets to read about a topic he enjoys. Research books on these topics as a starting point for finding appropriate reading material.

Step 4

Read with your preteen if he's willing. He may not climb up in your lap like he did when he was little, but he may like the break he gets from reading when you take turns. You also model reading skills and may help him figure out new words that he doesn't recognize in the text.

Step 5

Visit the library on a regular basis so he gets to rotate his book selection. Sign your son up for his own library card if he doesn't already have one to give him independence at the library. Show him how to find certain types of books or specific titles using the library's electronic catalog. Give him time to browse the shelves on his own instead of rushing him into a choice.

Step 6

Check with the librarian for book suggestions that fit your preteen's interests. A children's librarian should have an understanding of the types of books this age group enjoys. Libraries often create special displays of books for a particular audience. Check for a preteen reading material section.

Step 7

Ask your preteen's teacher for reading material suggestions. Upper elementary and middle school teachers should have an idea of the type of books their boy students enjoy.

Step 8

Expand beyond books when choosing reading material for your son. Try comic books, magazines or even baseball cards. If your son enjoys video games, buy him a guide book to his favorite game. Save the sports page or the comics from the morning paper.

Step 9

Subscribe to a magazine covering a topic he likes. Try "National Geographic Kids" or "Zoobooks," which each include the preteen age group in their target audience, for a boy who is passionate about animals, for example.

Step 10

Start a preteen book club with your son. Help him invite a few friends, choose the book and plan related activities. A book club gives the kids a chance to pick their own reading material and discuss it with their peers.

About the Author