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Four Reading Motivators for Teenage Boys

Found in: Reading; Reluctant Readers; Motivating Students

It’s no secret that state and national assessments continue to indicate that boys lag behind girls in reading. The gap tends to grow larger as students enter adolescence. It’s also no secret that many teenage boys avoid reading in class or at home. How can we motivate them to read? Check out these suggestions:

  1. We can make the reading we choose for whole-class instruction more motivating by relating it to the here and now. Survey your students to determine what they want to learn, and select reading materials aligned with their interests. Design inquiry units where students research answers to questions that concern teens, then weave texts around those topics.
  2. Incorporate self-selected reading as part of the Language Arts curriculum. This validates and supports boys’ independent reading. Include texts from similar genres or themes in classroom lessons.
  3. Scaffold and differentiate to accommodate boys’ individual reading needs. Sites such as Newsela allow the user to alter the reading complexity of recent news stories. The technique called Say Something focuses students’ attention on what they’re reading in order to make a prediction, ask a question, clarify confusion, or comment on what comes next.
  4. Encourage male role models to read with boys or discuss their reading and the importance of literacy in their lives. Ask male educators, parents, or community businessmen to serve in this way.


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