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Find a positive role model for them. I'm lucky because my two jobs in our building are to teach English and coach football. My boys get to see me intense and competitive about sports, then see me just as focused about language.
Sports Books. There are so many great books about sports and other "manly" activities such as hunting, sea-faring, adventuring, etc. There are just so many great books for boys about these types of fun stuff that I would think it would be easy to show why boys read!
Find out what he likes and then turn him on to those kinds of books. Depending on his reading level, even Captain Underpants works...some of my high school kids are still into potty humor, but as long as they're reading, who cares? Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Charlie Bone, Spiderwick Chronicles, King Arthur, Star Wars, Sports books, westerns, animal books...find his niche and target it. As you get him pulled in, he will read on his own. It's what I did for my own son and now he goes to bed 45 minutes earlier than he needs to so he can read. Yippee!!
My son started reading Michael Crichton when he was in middle school. He started with Jurassic Park and took off from there!
There are also tons of sci/fi books out there that appeal to adolescent boys. You could suggest the Star Wars series - I think there are about a bazillion different books now, and the newer ones about episodes 1-3 might really appeal to kids now who are familiar with the Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and the third one (can't remember the name of that one).
ACK! Don't we love that type of attitude LOL? I, too, would find out what that student's interests are and suggest some interesting, short books to him (nothing the size of War and Peace, obviously LOL). Start small and think big! If you can get him reading just one small book or even an article in a magazine, things may take off! :-)
Fight back! Ask him if he is ever planning on renting an apartment or buying a house - then give him a lease or mortgage agreement to read. Tell him he will have to learn how to understand that if he doesn't want to get swindled. Also, try to give him an employee handbook!
Beyond that, I would suggest magazine articles as well for a start.
But to fight the attitude, tell him to find you some documented evidence proving that "boys aren't supposed to read." He'll have to read to find it!!
Will Weaver has some books that the boys in my classroom enjoy: FARMTEAM, HARDBALL, MEMORY BOY, SATURDAY NIGHT DIRT. His current series about cars is really good because there is a tough girl and a smart boy.
MEMORY BOY is almost like McCormmick's book, THE ROAD. It appealed to my high school students because of the service project the main character has to do for his English class and the apocolyptic adventure the family goes on to avoid the falling dust after a nuclear explosion.
It’s no wonder that many kids come through high school and allow their reading to lapse. They are hammered over the head in English classes with all sorts of literature, and yet, how many times do we as classroom teachers select reading material that appeals to teenagers’ interests? How many of us select pieces from the literature books that aren’t really relevant to our kids. Try reading the book, Readicide.
#8 makes a number of really good suggestions. By making the practical applications of reading clear to students you are going to ensure that they see it is relevant and a vital skill to be able to master in todays world. I wonder too if a financial motive can be introduced - the income of an illiterate student is going to be much lower than a literate one. That should be enough to get even the most stubborn of boys reading!
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