How to get boys to read more – buy a Kindle..!

Kindle
Boys are notorious for being less interested in reading than girls. Indeed, school teachers often report that encouraging boys to read – especially in their latter years of junior school – is really challenging. After all, say the boys, reading is “soooooo girlie”, whereas boys much prefer football. Social acceptance and gender stereotypes are part of the problem. Dads, in particular, encourage the soccer playing, active lifestyle of young boys. Then, at school, these youngsters do not want to appear out of the ordinary by being too interested in reading, so they all do what their Dads confirm is “boyish” by running around the playground.

However, teachers know that all the research on reading confirms one thing: people who read a lot in their younger years tend to get better results overall. There is a clear relationship between reading and exam success.

In later years, of course, boys who are motivated by results, pick up the reading habit again. But they are then at a disadvantage – they have to work really hard to catch up with those youngsters who were busy reading while they were playing footie.

So, the conundrum has always been how do you encourage young boys to read more? Undoubtedly, J K Rowling helped with the Harry Potter books. But even with these popular stories, teachers still want boys to read more. Enter the Amazon Kindle.

New research has shown that when boys use an e-reader such as the Kindle consistently over a period of two months they become much more interested in reading. Indeed, they rate reading as more enjoyable and they also feel their reading ability has improved. The teachers of the children in the study also said that the Kindle had helped pupils become more engaged with reading. The study also found an interesting reason as to why Kindles were preferred to books – a reason why many adults may also find that an e-book reader is of value.

The children liked the anonymity the Kindle provided. No-one else knew what book they were reading – or the level it was aimed at. When reading books you advertise to your classmates what reading age your material is and for many boys that can be embarrassing. That can also be a problem for adults on plane and trains – do you really want to let your fellow travellers know you are reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover or the behind-the-scenes guide to Downton Abbey?

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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones

@grahamjones

Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
This is a really useful and handy guide. "Social Media Image Sizes for 2018: A Guide for Marketers"… https://t.co/hl0CjT3JVW - 32 mins ago
Graham Jones

4 thoughts on “How to get boys to read more – buy a Kindle..!

  1. That’s a really good idea.

    I wonder if publishers have caught onto it yet. I was talking to one of the largest mainstream publishers last week and they were frustrated with a lot of their non-fiction content providers (authors, imprints, universities etc) who were showing lack of interest in converting their books to ebooks. Later, I spoke to a university buyer who said they are now choosing course materials only from a list tat includes e-reader versions!

    • Thanks for the comment Ayd. Interesting that there is a mismatch between authors and publishers – though it has always been thus…! Authors generally do not want ebooks because it reduces royalties. Publishers want ebooks because it reduces costs. Readers want ebooks because of the convenience. A radical re-think of the entire industry is necessary. Publishers and authors can no longer be so ostrich like.

  2. another question… how young a child do you think a Kindle is suitable for? Obviously you wouldn’t leave a pre-school child alone with one and it lacks the colour of picture books, but again, as a novelty letter/word recognition learning tool it could be of use. It’s time to get writing some pre-school reading books specifically for Kindle I think…

    • As long as the child can hold it, I see no problem – providing an adult is with them if they are very young to prevent them using the Kindle as a hammer or a projectile or something to serve their dinner up on…!

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