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Reading for boys

When they were very young my wife and I read to each and all of our children. This slowed down when they could read for themselves although at one stage it became a family/group ritual. By the time they were emerging from primary school our home had a culture of reading (balanced with TV).

I am a father of five and found that my three daughters continued the reading habit. The boys on the other hand were a little different and needed a special kind of coaxing. My daughters were happy to enter the world of imaginings through all sorts of books, fact and fiction, and you could almost see their social and psychological development through this good practise. With my two sons I was fortunate to note (early) their seeming disinterest. I am not sure if it was a reaction to their female siblings but I countered this by introducing them to factual books based on their interests, examples include biographies on footballers and civil rights leaders; also through the cinema we would go see a movie and compare it with the book.

At one stage my two sons and I started our own reading club (they were aged 10 and 12). We agreed a set of rules which included meeting fortnightly. We agreed that I (dad) would choose the books and we would each choose three themes from each book that would form part of our fortnightly discussion.

The first book we read was The Alchemist. We had given ourselves a month to read the book which would involve two meetings. However my boys were so quickly into it that we meet after 10 days (would have been sooner but for my busy schedule) and discussed it for three and a half hours. We explored themes such as disappointment, courage, challenges, injustice and so many others.

The next book we read was Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. It was at this point that we discovered that he had written a whole series of books for boys. These were to dominate our reading club for the next two years. Anthony writes brilliantly for all children but his most famous and successful are the Alex Rider  novels. These books are about a 14-year-old boy becoming a spy. Currently there are seven Alex Rider books, we have read them all and thoroughly entertained and enthralled!

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