Teaching My Baby To Read

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How to Get Boys to Read

“I just don’t like books Mrs. Bardsley!”  That was a refrain I sometimes heard from boys when I use to be a teacher. Typically, the third grade boys who would say this entered my classroom only able to read at the first grade reading level. No wonder they didn’t like reading! If you are an eight-year-old boy, easy readers seem uncool and babyish. So if you are an adult with a reluctant reader in your life, here are some books that are guaranteed to inspire reading. They are not at the first grade reading level exactly, but they have a lot of picture cues to help facilitate independent reading.

The whole collection of Captain Underpants books take toilet humor to new lows.

Yuck! Be prepared to hear a lot of poop jokes.

The Adventures of Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy by D.J. Steinberg are only a half-step up in merit from Captain Underpants.

Instead of toilet humor, brace yourself for your son to start reading in a very loud shouting voice from his bedroom that is sure to wake up your two-year-old from her nap.

A Calvin and Hobbes Love Affair.

I do not understand Bill Watterson’s humor and yet somehow he speaks directly to the male soul. My son Bruce has used his own allowance money to buy every single Calvin and Hobbes book he can get his hands on. He spends hours reading these books, and has learned a lot of new vocabulary words that come out in strange pronunciations. “Mom, do you believe in ufos?” he asked me one day. It took me a while to realize ufo was U-F-O. Bruce was pronouncing it phonetically as a word. Then there was the time on a hiking trip that Bruce asked my husband, “Dad, am I gripping too much?” Hunh? Apparently Bruce meant griping.

Even though these are comic books, I still think they have a lot of educational value. Remember when working with reluctant readers that reverse psychology is your friend. Make a big deal about how you don’t think comic books are quality literature, and how you would really prefer your son read something else. Then watch your son go hole up in his room and read away.


  1. Jean says:

    I know so many kids who learned to read from Calvin and Hobbes comics!

  2. jengod says:

    If he likes Calvin and Hobbes, you might see if there are any The Far Side compilations at the library. He might take to those as well. They’re darn smart, despite having less of a storyline than C&H.

  3. Claire H. says:

    My DS is in a Captain Underpants phase at the moment (sigh). He also likes Dav Pilkey’s Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series, which is also humorous but a bit more palatable to me. He’s also reading his way through Jon Sciecska’s Time Warp Trio series (humor with a bonus of interesting kids in history).

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