Why Do Boys Stop Reading?

Libraries find clever ways to encourage boys to become lifelong readers.

Your library can help get your son reading again.

Have you ever noticed that for a while, kids love books, but then they just stop reading? This phenomenon is most frequent with young boys, who lose interest in reading as they age. The loss of interest happens for a variety of reasons. Some boys have trouble reading and don’t have the support they need to improve their literacy skills. Others don’t have regular access to libraries and reading materials. And even more, young boys may be pushed out of reading habits by strict gender roles. Some boys might also be too energetic to even want to sit still and read. 

So how do we get our boys reading again? While you can’t force your kids to enjoy reading, local libraries can help spark the joy of reading in boys in several ways.

1. Providing Access to Books and Learning Materials

One of the most important things libraries do to encourage reading in children of all genders is providing access to reading materials. Both school and public libraries offer students free books, movies, and even video games. 

2. Promoting Reading through Mixed Media Activities

For the boys who aren’t too keen on sitting still and reading, there are many ways to get them into reading with mixed media. Comics, text-based video games, or tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) like Pathfinder are great ways to encourage reading without sticking to just books. 

3. Recommending Books

Librarians are a great resource for kids to find books about things they’re interested in and learn more about them. Ask your librarian if they have any books about your son’s interests!


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4. Curating an Inclusive Collection of Literature

Some kids struggle to enjoy literature because they can’t relate to book characters. Ask your librarian if they can find books with kids like yours to help engage them in a story.

5. Hosting Book Clubs or Luncheons

Book clubs or themed events are great ways to get kids of every gender engaged in reading and talking about books as a social activity to enjoy with friends.

6. Getting Creative!

Promoting creative events like creative writing and game design helps get boys in the metaphorical trenches regarding literacy and reading. Alternatively, keeping art materials in a separate library section is another excellent way to help kids get their energy out on paper.

7. Marketing and Layout

Yes, we’re talking about marketing. An interesting interior design and book display makes reading spaces comfortable and can draw attention to certain books. For example, some kids love breaking the rules—why not host a display of banned or challenged books for them to read?


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8. Hosting Story Sessions

Storytimes are great for young children learning how to read because the storyteller actively engages them in the story and acts as a guide for the storytelling process. 

9. Celebrating Authors

Another way libraries encourage boys to read is by changing up the layout of the library and decorating it in celebration of different authors. For example, March 2nd is Dr. Seuss Day—libraries might be decorated in a forest of truffula trees to create a unique new environment for kids to explore.

10. Working with Schools

Finally, libraries help encourage reading by working directly with schools. Summer reading programs encourage kids to spend time at the library with a book in their hands. Some libraries gamify the experience by challenging young readers to finish or make it as far as possible through a series.



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