"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Promoting Reading for Boys (and Girls)

Recently, a friend asked me how I got my oldest son to progress past short books.  The key to my son reading chapter books was involving Dad in read alouds and finding books that grabbed my son's interest.  Some of the books that Brendan really liked listening to his father read are:

The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Alvin's Secret Code by Clifford B. Hicks

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Outlaws of Ravenhurst by M. Imelda Wallace

Brendan often found it hard to wait until the next evening to hear more of the story and would continue reading where his father had stopped.  This is exactly what we were hoping he would do.

Today, my son likes the Alvin Fernald series, Childhood of Famous Americans series (Laura Berquist recommendation), and some old Encounter the Saints books about male saints that were given to him by a lady at 40 Days for Life. Encounter the Saints books are still being printed by the Daughters of St. Paul, but I do not know whether they are the same quality as the ones we have or if the old titles have been reprinted.

Some of the books that the girls enjoyed that would probably appeal to boys, too, are the Boxcar Children books by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Happy Hollisters series by Jerry West, Carolyn Haywood's Here's a Penny and Penny and Peter, and Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop.  I know there are more books that appeal to boys and girls, but these are the ones that my daughters mentioned.

When I asked Brendan, "What books did and do you like reading?"  He mentioned some of the ones above, plus the following:

Pancakes Paris by Claire Huchet Bishop

The Truffle Pig by Claire Huchet Bishop

Freddy Goes to Floridaby Walter R. Brooks (and other books in this series)

The Eddie books by Carolyn Haywood

The Perilous Road by William O. Steele (and the other books in this series)

We always try to have books available for our children to read.  In addition to checking out a lot of books from the library, we give the children a book for their birthday (usually hard cover), baptism anniversary (saint book), Christmas (usually related to Christmas), and after every nine weeks of school (paperback). In other words, they are given seven books each year. They choose the ones that they get for completing each quarter from a big box full of books that I have picked up at library book sales, our Catholic homeschool conference, or for good prices on the web. This seems to entice my children to want to read. An unforeseen side benefit to our book box is if two children want the same book, they sometimes work a little harder to try and finish their 9 weeks of school first.  They also like to ask "Daddy" to read their book to the family.


  1. This is a great list of books.
    our children have all loved The Alvin books, not just the boys.
    One of the mot favourite book series our children have gone back to over and over again are the "William" books Richmal Crompton.
    Thanks for the list we will investigate some of these.

  2. My daughters like the Alvin books, too. Thank you for the recommendation. I put a book-on-CD copy of Just William on hold at the library (they do not have the actual book).


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