We recently had the pleasure of running Wide Reading lessons in the library with middle school boys. At its core, this meant trying to encourage the boys to read by finding them a book they would love! To do this, we had LOTS of conversations about books…which books they would recommend and why…what kind of books they didn’t like…what genres they couldn’t go past…and, yes…why they didn’t like reading!! We came away from this term with some little pearls of wisdom that we would like to share with you all.


  • If your boy has found a book he thinks he will like but just can’t be motivated to start it, begin reading it aloud for him. This is really effective in the evening when he’s tired and winding down. If you start reading the book aloud, then you can get him hooked on the characters and well into the introduction, and then stop JUST WHEN IT GETS INTERESTING. When he begs you to keep reading, just pass the book to him and tell him he can keep reading on himself.


  • If your young man just can’t find a book that he likes the sound of, ask his friends what book they have read that they really liked. A book recommended by a peer is far more likely to be a hit that one suggested by an adult.


  • When you absolutely CANNOT engage them in reading for themselves, use the Borrowbox app on their handheld device to download an audiobook. AHL has a great collection of ebooks and audiobooks – some boys even enjoy following along with a physical copy of the same book while listening to the audio version!


  • If attention span is the issue and they can’t see themselves getting through a whole book, try short stories. The library has a fantastic collection of short stories – in fact it’s even got its own genre sticker! Each of these stories will only take your boy around 7 – 15 minutes to read. Easy!


We hope at least one of these tips works on your reluctant reader…and remember, if all else fails, just send them up to the library and tell them not to come home without a book. We honestly believe there’s a book in the library for every reader, and we’ll use all our library powers to match them!

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