A lot of boys are having trouble reading.

  • The U.S. Department of Education reading tests for the last 30 years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.
  • Eighth grade boys are 50 percent more likely to be held back than girls.
  • Two-thirds of Special Education Students in high school are boys.
  • Overall college enrollment is higher for girls than boys.

Why might boys be having trouble

  • Biologically, boys are slower to develop than girls and often struggle with reading and writing skills early on.
  • The action-oriented, competitive learning style of many boys works against them learning to read and write
  • Many books boys are asked to read don’t appeal to them. They aren’t motivated to want to read.
  • As a society, we teach boys to suppress feelings. Boys aren’t practiced and often don’t feel comfortable exploring the emotions and feelings found in fiction.
  • Boys don’t have enough positive male role models for literacy. Because the majority of adults involved in kids’ reading are women, boys might not see reading as a masculine activity.


Our mission is to motivate boys to read by connecting them with materials they will want to read, in ways they like to read.

1. Make some noise for boys.

We have literacy programs for adults and families. GUYS READ is our chance to call attention to boys’ literacy.

2. Expand our definition of reading.

Include boy-friendly nonfiction, humor, comics, graphic novels, action-adventure, magazines, websites, audiobooks, and newspapers in school reading. Let boys know that all these materials count as reading.

3. Give boys choice.

Motivate guys to want to read by letting them choose texts they will enjoy. Find out what they want. Let them choose from a new, wider range of reading.

4. Encourage male role models.

Men have to step up as role models of literacy. What we do is more important than all we might say.

5. Be realistic. Start small.

Boys aren’t believing that “Reading is wonderful.” Reading is often difficult and boring for them. Let’s start with “Here is one book/magazine/text you might like.”

6. Spread the GUYS READ word.

Encourage people to use the information and downloads on this site to set up their own chapters of GUYS READ, and get people thinking about boys and reading.

Nation’s Report Card
National scores on tests, tests, and more tests.

Maine.gov Gender Task Force
An examination of gender equity in schools acknowledging that boys and girls may need different supports to achieve the same level of achievement.  Solid, practical recommendations.

Visit our page of Reading Resources for leads on books about boys and literary and more.

Guys Read

Jon Scieszka is a guy.  He grew up with five other guys — his brothers. This certainly influenced his worldview, and helped inspire him to start Guys Read. For more details about Jon, check this out.