How to Use Summertime to Motivate Your Boys to Read

a boy lies prone on grass, an open book in front of him

The lazy days of summer combined with a more relaxed homeschool schedule is the ideal atmosphere to motivate your boys to read. However, just because a boy can read doesn’t mean he will read. In addition, my research has shown that boys read for pleasure less often than girls do.  

Reading for pleasure is paramount to learning how to read. My boys are lifetime readers now because I used summertime to motivate them to read for the sheer delight of it. Grab some of these clever and creative ways to motivate your active, homeschooled boys to read.  

Let the Boys Choose Their Books

The first rule is there are no rules about choosing the type of book they want to read. I was reluctant about giving up this control because I expected that my boys would select gore-filled comic books, but I was pleasantly surprised when they did not.  

Many boys will choose action-packed books, filled with pictures. Boys prefer pictures in books for more years than girls do because a lot of boys are visual learners. A boy who starts off as a comic book reader may very well become a lifelong reader, so don't be too upset if they choose books that aren't your favorite.  

Campouts in the Yard are a Must

Little did my boys know that I was moving them from watching TV to spending leisurely evenings with great books by setting up a tent outside. Nothing gets a boy more excited about an adventure than being outdoors.   

Your boys can read about surviving in the wilderness against all odds in books such as Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson, Hatchet, and My Side of the Mountain.    

Engage Your Boys Through Hands-on Activities

How to Use Summertime to Motivate Your Boys to Read

Books come alive when you make a project together, but especially so for boys. Summertime in our home has always been a time to create more projects together, but the key is to pair a project with a book. Boys thrive on books where they can apply their new found knowledge of gadgets and technical know-how to a constructive project.  

A few years back after reading about the early communication skills of the FBI, my boys made a crystal radio from an empty oatmeal container and wiring. Applying this type of knowledge to a project makes reading worthwhile for boys.  

Use Incentives

You can try doing a reading program where a child gets a star or certificate after he completes a certain number of books, but it never worked for my boys. However, getting a free pizza or ice cream after reading a certain number of books made a big difference in prompting my boys to read the next book. Or try to motivate them without prizes, using the ideas here

Avoid a Lifeless Library Read Aloud Time

Though there are many free online sites with read alouds, boys like the option to move about. In our small town library, we had an awesome librarian who played the banjo and dressed up like the characters in the books she read.  

Reading aloud the book by Steven Kellogg, Pecos Bill, the librarian had bandanas and cowboy hats for the boys to wear. She would sing part of the book as she played her banjo. My boys giggled and sang along, not realizing they were learning about the geography and history of Texas.  

Cook Together

Teaching boys that cooking is manly has not been easy in my home because my husband never learned how to cook. However, by giving my boys books that feature outdoor survival cooking tips and cookbooks that are just for boys, their curiosity was piqued.  

Reading cookbooks had some unexpected benefits like careful planning, patience, and cleanliness. Teaching my boys about cooking measurements while grilling poolside not only taught them to associate reading with pleasure, but also provided a delicious burger dinner!  

Keep the learning going in summertime and make some memories with your boys. They grow up fast. 

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About the Author

Tina RobertsonTina Robertson celebrated the graduation of Mr. Senior in 2013 and is getting ready to graduate her next son. Because of her love for new homeschoolers, she mentors moms through her unique program called New Bee Homeschoolers. She loves all homeschoolers, though, as she shares her free 7 Step Curriculum Planner, unit studies, lapbooks and homeschooling how tos. She can't sing, dance, or craft, but she counts organizing as a hobby. She is still in the homeschool trenches blogging at Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus.