ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

5 Books to Get Middle School Boys Reading

Updated on June 2, 2014

As both a teacher and a librarian, I have noticed that getting girls to read is an easy trick. Throw together a mysterious but handsome boy, an average, regular girl, and you have the ingredients of not only a cheesy romance, but also a story that pre-teen and teenage girls will seem to flock to read. Getting boys to read, though, that is the true challenge. Boys would much rather play video games, shoot a basketball, or just cause random havoc than pick up a book. How do we get them to read, then? Well, first, it takes some prodding by teachers through use of things like book reports and required class reading. What is that old saying, though, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.” Boys and books is the same thing. You can give boys the classics and the most beloved books of all-time, but you can’t force them to read them. The answer to this problem is to offer them books that will speak to them; books that will grab a hold of their probably-awkward-because-of-their-age ears and drag them into the plot and characters’ lives. The following books and their authors have been able to do just that. As a middle school librarian, I cannot seem to keep enough stock of the following books:

Source

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Jeff Kinney has being a boy in middle school completely figured out. Through use of his main character, Greg Hefley, he illustrates to all the awkwardness that is pre-teen boy-dom. Greg is vying for the love of a popular girl and he would kill to be seen as popular himself. He has an older brother and a younger brother that seem to always ruin his life (because, as you know, anything that goes unplanned to a pre-teen, no matter how small, ruins their lives), parents that never cease at embarrassing him, and someone who is always there to pick on him or point out when he does something weird.

Boys flock to this book faster than ants at a picnic. I about lost my sip of water one day when a boy, who I did not even think knew where the library was, asked me if I had the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, yet.

Source

2. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

There must be something to this “I am all on my own, only I can save me” theme of the books by Gary Paulsen that follow character Brian. Middle school girls do not seem to be interested in a character who has to sleep outside and fend for himself in the wilderness for days upon days (maybe it is the lack of soap and proper bathrooms). Boys, on the other hand, would fight each other to get their hands on this adventure, survival story (well, if fighting were permitted in the library).

3. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

Is there much explanation for why middle school boys absolutely love Captain Underpants books? I mean, we are talking about a full-grown man running around in underwear and a cape. That is middle school boy world in a nutshell. Putting the ridiculous story plots and character costuming aside, though, Pilkey uses, at times, some pretty high-level vocabulary in his tales of the undergarment hero.

This school year, I had a student in 8th grade, who actually read on a second grade reading level. He refused to even try to read anything, until I put Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part I: the Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets in front of him. He was so excited to come to class every day and read with me. Hidden in this outlandish story were words like, academically, depictions, cybernetic, and endoskeleton, which completely changed my mind about these silly books.

Source

4. Monster by Walter Dean Myers

I am not sure whether it is the way in which this book is written (it is written like a movie script with some diary entries) or the plot itself that draw middle school boys to its pages. It is the story of 16-year-old Steve, who is the one writing the script and diary entries, who is in prison awaiting trial for his involvement in a murder. He wants to be a director someday, so he begins with writing down his experiences in prison and in court.

For whatever the reason, boys seem to become invested with Steve. They hang on every clue that is given. Do they believe it when he says he is innocent? Do they think he is lying? They love to guess and then they love to talk about their opinions when they have finished the book.

5. Holes by Louis Sachar

Ahh, the beloved Stanley Yelnats, Louis Sachar’s main character who seems to pull young boy readers in with his gripping story. He is cursed from birth because of his great-great-grandfather, he is wrongfully accused, but he finds a way to overcome all of his struggles and save the day. Boys will read this book, then watch the movie, and then read this book again. I am not sure if it is because Stanley gets to beat or win over the “authority figures” or because boys can relate to Stanley getting in trouble for something he didn’t do, but, again, for whatever the reason boys seem to thoroughly enjoy this book. I have 7 copies of this book on my shelves, and I usually only have 2 or 3 copies available at a time.

Your Thoughts?

Which of these books should've made the cut?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)