Finding Great Books for Boys


In upper elementary and middle school, we often lose our boy readers. What can we do to keep them interested? This post includes book recommendations you might try and links to websites for other recommendations too. Check it out if you're needing support.

I was in deep focus mode trying to get my kiddos to understand an important math concept with Travis, a very bright and energetic boy in my class, got a not so bright idea. He decided to play a practical joke on me.  I am modeling (on the overhead... beginning teachers... this is what we used before Smartboards. :-).  I look up, and Travis has the eraser end of his pencil in his nose. He pretends to pull it out, and attached to it is used gum which stretches to look like snot.  I am not kidding!  The class erupts in laughter, and I was not laughing. The punishment... "Travis, you will need to call your parents and explain what you did." Of course, they were very serious and followed up with a consequence. For years though, we have laughed about how he shared it with them. I think that was a sign that Travis was bored and needed more attention from me. The image to the right gives you the idea of what I saw. Have you experienced anything like this??

So just how do we funnel that energy in the classroom? How do you draw those busy boys/girls in and hook them? The answer...high interest books, activities with movement, opportunities to build things, and anything messy.

Matching tasks to our students' interests, whether they are boys or girls, is a great motivator. Kids have learning preferences, so we need to mix it up and have a deep repertoire of ideas to make sure we address those needs. One place to start is with literature. I did a little research on the best authors for boys (and have a few favorites of my own).

Book Suggestions for Boys

In upper elementary and middle school, we often lose our boy readers. What can we do to keep them interested? This post includes book recommendations you might try and links to websites for other recommendations too. Check it out if you're needing support.As you can see, there is kind of a common theme in these books. I selected a few of the series that my students have enjoyed ( The Weird School Series, Captain Awesome Series, and the Jake Maddox books are the favorites.). I also have the struggling fourth and fifth graders in mind. The reason?? It seems that this is the age when we lose many of them. As kids move into middle school, we lose even more. Independent reading has to be a routine that kids enjoy and the place to emphasize independent reading is at school. 

What can be done to establish the routine? First, set your kids up with personal goals. As you confer with the kids, discuss the books they like and be prepared to share next step books with them. Secondly, let them have time to talk about their reading with their peers. Kids recommending to each other is much more powerful than what we recommend. Finally, and most importantly, have book conversations with them as they're working through their books. You can use these conversations with students in the future. 

Are your boys beyond these? No problem. I have a next step list for you. My son, to this day, is an avid reader. The top of his list...Ender's Game and Science Fiction. Of course, he loved fantasy and adventure in upper elementary. For book alikes, teachers should check Good Reads and Amazon for similar titles.

Fun Activities to Check Out

I did not put together a Pinterest board for this topic, but here are a few busy/dirty learning ideas some of your boys may enjoy. Some of your girls may too.  I think with any activity or assignment we do, you have to make the match with kids' interests, talents, and needs.  I love hands-on learning, so the more we can keep kids actively engaged (no matter what gender they are), the deeper the learning will be. 

  These literacy ideas are perfect for car and truck play of young children. Ideas for learning the alphabet, sight words and spelling included.  materials:  1 2-liter soda bottle   1 water bottle  Soil  Sand  Leaf compost  Black construction paper and white / light colored crayons  Dry baby cereal or breadcrumbs  Practice sight words with Superheroes - play Superhero Sight Word Mash!

Best Websites to Visit for Boy Resource Ideas

In upper elementary and middle school, we often lose our boy readers. What can we do to keep them interested? This post includes book recommendations you might try and links to websites for other recommendations too. Check it out if you're needing support.As we work to come up with a list of great books for boys, there are a few websites to check out too. One I learned about at a reading conference was Boys Read which is linked below. You might also check THIS SITE for a book list too. It is sorted by age level which is nice. Kids Reads is another webiste with great book recommendation ideas.
Boys Read



What books are popular with your boys? Please share your ideas below in the comments. It's always helpful to have a list in mind.