Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Guys Read

Technically this is another linky party, but this is a topic that I feel is VERY important and couldn't resist joining (plus Courtney is giving away an Amazon gift card for extra incentive). I see WAY too many boys who are either low readers or just don't enjoy it very much. As teachers, we need to be actively searching for books that will catch their attention and help them want to become better readers. There's actually a whole movement that was started by Jon Scieszka (author of Stinky Cheese Man) called Guys Read (hence my post title), and they have a lot of great resources you should check out!

For the past few years, I've invited my hubby to come read to them and share his love of books so they can see a male role model who values reading as much as I do (if not more). I highly recommend that you bring in strong male readers as well.

But this linky is about specific books that boys seem to enjoy, so let me get started. I chose to focus on books for older elementary since that's what I'm most familiar with.

Since my library began with books from my own personal collection (and my sister's) growing up, I knew that I needed to work on building especially with guys in mind. My first "guy" purchase was a set of Goosebumps books.

These were really popular when I was growing up, and they still are. They were my most read books and showed it! But I learned that they loved pretty much anything I deemed "scary", especially if there were ghosts. Mary Downing Hahn has some books that some of my higher readers enjoyed. This one was recommended to me by a student my first year in 4th grade. I bought it, and it's been popular ever since.

ALL of my kids loved pretty much anything by Roald Dahl (possibly because I told him he was my favorite author, but his books ARE awesome)! The only one I might avoid for boys would be Matilda. The rest are winners though.

If you're into sports, I have a few. My favorites are the Tiki and Ronde Barber books. I originally bought these because we did a Famous Virginians Wax Museum every year, and the Barber twins are from VA. I let some of my lower readers use these books (and other resources) to do their project. 
Matt Christopher books are also a good choice.

I love Magic Tree House books, especially the nonfiction research guides. They are great for meeting the needs of those kids who just don't like fictional books.
My personal favorite choice for history books (especially if you live in Virginia and are teaching VA History) is this one. It has EVERYTHING a boy would love to read about - death, poop, fighting, Native Americans, blood, you name it! Plus it's based on facts. I told my students the parts that were made up were basically just the conversations with the boy telling the story. 

Some classics and other books that they tend to enjoy:

I hope this helps! Go check out Courtney's linky by clicking on the image above, then check out the website. It truly is a great resource!


  1. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for the link to the Guys Read website. I love how it has book suggestions by age range. I also agree with what you said about having guys around as role models. At my school, the only guy is the PE teacher so they don't get a lot of that.
    Literacy Spark

  2. Thanks for linking up Melissa! What a great idea to have your husband come read to the boys. I also love the BFG. It was my favorite book growing up and I always have wanted to read it to my class. Maybe this year!

    Swimming into Second

  3. It is funny that you mentioned that boys would not really like Matilda. Zack and my husband loved it and thought it was so funny! Usually, I read the nighttime books to Zack, but Andy took over because he loved it so much.

    What great ideas for Zack! I always focus on the younger kids because of what I teach, so this is great!

    Reading Toward the Stars

  4. Those are some great suggestions! I LOVE your blog by the way. The title makes me smile! :-) I am your newest follower.

    Simply Second

  5. I am the teacher librarian in a Title I school, too, so we have a family specialist. One day I suggested that the Watch DOGS (look up on might head up a Guys Read program. VOILA! Success! I love eavesdropping when they meet in the library and hearing the role models talk to the boys about the different ways and things they can read.With very little prep on their part, even.
    Let me think. Waiting on an order of Jake Maddox books, as they are supposed to be fun sports ones (Matt Christopher wasn't getting a lot of love in our library). Our boys also love Origami Yoda (OF COURSE). Big Nate. And have you ever read Alec Greven's How to Talk to Girls (or Moms, Dads, or Santa?) He was in 4th grade when he wrote it but the kid was SPOT ON. So funny when the boys come to me and ask "for that red book."

  6. I read BFG every year because I feel like it reaches SO many kids: kids who wish they could escape their home life, kids who struggle with language, kids struggling to make friends. And boys, well, when I think about the whizpopper chapter, yeah, I'd say that's there for the boys! Thanks for the other suggestions; I've never heard of Blood on the River so I'll be on the lookout for it!