by Kristen Molloy

How to get teens to read

We know reading is good for us. Reading for pleasure, particularly fiction, is linked to higher standardised test scores across all academic subjects, including maths (yes!).

Reading builds vocabulary, which in turn improves comprehension. Readers, not surprisingly, tend to write better than non-readers.

But can reading also help us foster a culture of positive masculinity?

There is some evidence that reading promotes empathy and tolerance. And there is no doubt that reading and telling stories teach us about the world.

In our English classes, when we read with the boys, we are giving them the opportunity to explore their world from different perspectives, and through this, enable them to start to form a sense of who they are and what they stand for.

Reading, telling stories and talking together, allow our boys to experience the world from the perspective of others. They are able to feel the emotions of another human being. They learn that there are other ways of being.

Hopefully, they learn that at the heart of positive masculinity is the courage to be truly authentic; to be enough ‘just as I am’.

Boys often read less as they get older, so here are some ideas to keep them reading:

  • Have a ready supply of books on hand at home
  • Encourage a regular reading regime, for you and him
  • Read the English books that your son is studying at school
  • Talk with him about these books and others that you have enjoyed
  • Support his interests – he may enjoy reading comic books, blogs, newspaper sports reports, or magazines
  • Download audiobooks for listening to on the way to school or on long drives
  • Choose a book or a bookstore voucher as a gift.

Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

Kristen Molloy is the Associate Head of the Crowther Centre, Literacy and Engagement at Brighton Grammar School, an all-boys school in Melbourne. She is the mother of two boys. This article is about