How to Raise Boys Who Read (Hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes) 6

How to Raise Boys Who Read (Hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes)

I think what I hate seeing in these types of articles is the general “GAMES BAD BOOKS GOOD” thing (for the full effect, imagine The Incredible Hulk saying that).  Perhaps I’m only seeing this because of my interest in gaming (I am one of the co-founders of  I don’t know.  I try to read articles like that from the approach of my parents, who are middle class, everyday blue collar folks who have their high school diploma.  What would they think?  I think they’d come to the conclusion that games are bad and reading is good.  Especially with a headline like that.

That worries me a bit as someone who got a lot out of video games.  I didn’t read a lot, but I played a lot of games.  Some had great stories, some had crap stories.  The same thing applies to a lot of books out there.  I felt like what I was doing was the equivalent to reading in some way.  I was participating in stories with characters/drama/plot/etc.  The only difference is that my reading was a bit interactive.  I got a lot of enjoyment out of these stories.  The characters and their quests are still with me to this day.

I also think playing video games led me to a lot of reading which I wouldn’t have done before video games. I read a lot of gaming magazines and comics.  That led to graphic novels and some sci-fi (actual books!).  I wasn’t the best gamer in the world so sometimes I resorted to using strategy guides.  That’s reading too!

Do I think it ate into reading time?  I think it was my reading time.

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

6 thoughts on “How to Raise Boys Who Read (Hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes)

  • Leah L. White

    You aren’t the only one who was upset with that article. I had quite a few bookseller friends on Twitter who were all up in arms about it. But considering the source? I’m not that surprised. (hint: I don’t trust the WSJ)

  • Bileski

    I have three young boys and video games are the BEST (according to them.) There is no way I could completely deny them their video gaming thrills on an (almost) daily basis. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s okay to let them play video games, and let them read the books or magazines they love. Thankfully,they still read at least as much, if not more, than they play vid games. And who cares if there’s a fart joke or two in the book. Aren’t boys allowed to laugh at silly crudeness? Kids books are for kids, not adults. I’m an author and wrote a book specifically for middle grade boys (with the help of my own sons) that has the tag line… A book for boys who’d rather be playing video games. (At the same time, I realize that my boys and most boys they know would always prefer a game over a book). My 8 year old summed it up well… Mom, I’d rather play video games, BUT if there’s no video games to play, I love to read books.

  • atminn

    “I was participating in stories with characters/drama/plot/etc. The only difference is that my reading was a bit interactive.” I know it doesn’t bring along as much reading strictly speaking, but I’ve been discovering how even moreso than video games, #rpg’s such as Dungeons & Dragons (#dnd) offer perhaps a supreme example of “participating in stories.” I wonder if such games (with friends around a tabletop with nothing but imagination, paper, and dice) qualify for what you’re talking about. Perhaps they are the epitome of Story 2.0 because of the unique way the players/characters have a direct effect on the direction and outcome of the plot. Perhaps it would be viewed as more educational if gametime were paired with a writing group for setting down all the ideas and imagination stirred up from the corporate storyweaving. There’s nothing like it.

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