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Are Dads the key to get boys to read?

By Andrea Petersen
A new report from publisher Scholastic affirms what many parents and teachers already know viscerally: As kids grow, they read less and spend more time going online and texting.
There has been much hand wringing over how to get boys to read more, with publishers releasing books with gross-out humor and video-game components. The study points to another potential tactic: Getting dads to read more. Not surprisingly, parents who read a lot have kids who do so, too. But 42% of dads surveyed read books less than one day a week, compared with only 22% of moms who read so little. “We need to get more role models of men reading,” said Francie Alexander, Scholastic’s chief academic officer. “Dads like gadgets, too, so maybe we can get them involved around an e-reader.”


Asked by tasches at 5:51 PM on Sep. 29, 2010 in General Parenting

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Answers (13)
  • I think it's incredibly important to read to your kids. How else are they supposed to learn???
    My husband reads to our son every night, at least 10 minutes, no matter how tired he is. I think it's sweet.

    Answer by MommaofH2 at 5:56 PM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • My son has never met his dad and has had no real manly influence in his life. He read very well in kindergarten and at 14 he reads on a college+ level. He also reads voraciously. So, no, that is not the key. It's called being a parent regardless of the situation. Dad and mom, 2 dads, 2 moms...whatever.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 6:00 PM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • I don't think it hurts, but I have 3 boys, my husband occasionally reads technical manuals or sports magazines but that's about it. I'm the reader in the house......and so are all 3 of my boys. They are 18, 21 & 28. I think the key is parent involvement, limiting the amount of time that your kids can play video games etc., and most importantly READ TO THEM, more important than Dad reading is someone READ TO THEM, and get them excited about reading at a very young age. I read to my boys every night at bedtime. Buying a new book was a they looked forward middle son had a hard time learning to read, but he was into Star Wars, he was 7 years old, and we discovered the Junior Jedi series. He wanted me to read with him, and we made a deal, I would read most of each paragraph and he would read the last sentence, then I changed it, we would take turns reading every other sentence. Continued...

    Answer by ohwrite at 6:00 PM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • I think it is important for them to read more. Kids can learn how to read and learn - yes. But when you read for the enjoyment... I would think you learn more about new things because whatever your reading... you chose to read it.. it isn't like an assignment.... I think that everyone no matter their age should try to learn something new every day.

    Answer by ajc88 at 6:01 PM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • Then one day I was cooking and he brought his book to me and asked what a word was. I looked at him and said what are you doing? He said "Reading, I can't wait for you if I want to know what happens, and that was the beginning of his love of books. By 6th grade my son who read below 1st grade level in 3rd grade was reading on a post graduate reading level. I could say so much more, but I think my point is that boys will learn to love to read.....IF YOU READ TO THEM!!!

    Answer by ohwrite at 6:02 PM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • It's ... a bit silly to believe that being online and texting don't 'count' as literacy, when clearly they rely on it.

    The purpose of literacy isn't, as so many lovers of the novel form might like to believe, to be able to read novels. It is to be able to function as fully as possible in our lives. If we need to be able to understand a government document, or fill out a form, or understand prescription instructions... we do not actually EVER need to read a novel. Not even a graphic novel.

    While normal people have no difficulty saying 'I don't like that kind of tv program' or 'I prefer this kind of music' there is a lot of disdain from readers of literature toward people who don't like that art form. Even many literature lovers don't like classical music or opera --apparently it's 'fine' for them to turn down some culture, but not for people who don't like reading fiction.

    Answer by LindaClement at 6:06 PM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • Sorry, I call BS. If it only took DAD reading to boys, then any boy living in a single mom household wouldn't be reading, and my boys are living proof that's not true.

    My 12 yo has a reading level of 14 (2nd tear of college). Right now, he's reading a nonfiction book on the history and fall of the Greek Empire.
    My 10 yo has a reading level of 12.5 (post HS-graduate) He's halfway through the Ranger's Apprentice series right now.

    My reading level the last time I was tested in school (age 12) was 14. I read 1-4 books a week. I have everything from horror to sci-fi to fantasy to romance to nonfiction. My storage space has 10 CRATES of paperbacks in it.

    While their schoolwork ethic (don't get me started!) may not reflect their love of reading, the STACKS of books all over my house surely will.

    I think the key is to be exposed to books and reading at an early age and consistently through life.

    Answer by geminilove at 6:16 PM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • i dont think they r

    Answer by san78 at 6:20 PM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • It's not about "dads", it's about seeing the important adults in their lives modeling this behavior.

    Answer by justnancyb at 7:30 PM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • I think the key is finding books that pique their interest. If they have dads that read, there may be books around that are geared more towards their interests.

    Answer by missanc at 8:34 PM on Sep. 29, 2010