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mazakaal

Anyone have book recommendations for reluctant teen boys?

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Ds really dislikes reading and has for the past few years. Because his 'literature' this year is 'movies as literature,' I'm having him read anything he wants for 30 minutes a day, just to keep him doing some reading. But he doesn't even like the books that he chooses. 

Could you please share any books that your reluctant teen boys have enjoyed? Thanks!

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Can you tell us about his interests? Books or movies he has enjoyed?

Of course there's the obvious ones like The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Rick Riordan.

Or maybe he'd like Stephen King? Hatchet? Peter and the Starcatchers? The Graveyard Book? Stardust?  My Side of the Mountain? Wonder? Ready Player One/Armada? The Martian? Crossover (This one is a basketball story). The Wednesday Wars? Fablehaven?

Generally -- all of my kids are science fiction lovers -- so Heinlein Juveniles, John Varley, Ender's Game... my youngest finished Starship Troopers in a day and a half last week.
 

Edited by theelfqueen
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2 hours ago, theelfqueen said:

Can you tell us about his interests? Books or movies he has enjoyed?

Of course there's the obvious ones like The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Rick Riordan.

Or maybe he'd like Stephen King? Hatchet? Peter and the Starcatchers? The Graveyard Book? Stardust?  My Side of the Mountain? Wonder? Ready Player One/Armada? The Martian? Crossover (This one is a basketball story). The Wednesday Wars? Fablehaven?

Generally -- all of my kids are science fiction lovers -- so Heinlein Juveniles, John Varley, Ender's Game... my youngest finished Starship Troopers in a day and a half last week.
 

 

Generally all he's interested in is video games and superhero movies. He's not really into sports. He's not interested in The Hobbit, Harry Potter, or Rick Riordan, but we haven't tried any of the other ones. Thanks!

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If he loves Superhero movies ... get him some comic books! Fat graphic novels can be a great way to get kids excited about reading! My kids love the Zelda manga- comics and video games! 

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Are you OK with audiobooks? My boys aren't teens, but they REALLY enjoy audiobooks. 

Another idea --- comics. I'm pretty picky about what graces our shelves, but my boys DEVOUR books like Calvin and Hobbes, Foxtrot, B.C. and the like. As, I have to pry them out of their hands. 

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Has he read Holes? Super quick and easy read - with a movie. 

Seconding Ender's Game and Ready Player One (books with movies!)

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I have had a few very reluctant reader teen boys. All with Dyslexia

 What I did with them all is put a stack of books on their desk at the beginning of the year ( between 13-15 books) form TWTM reading list that correspond to the year of history we are doing. I tell the child that this is his reading list for the year. I have added 1 extra book so they can swap out 1 book. and they have to read them. I tell them that it is part of the curriculum - called literature. 

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Thanks for all the great ideas, guys! He’s already read the complete Calvin and Hobbes collection and the complete TinTin collection when he was younger, but most of those suggested we haven’t tried yet, so this is super-helpful. Thanks!

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I like(d) books that are useful so I suggest that you compile a list of nonfiction self-development type books that are useful to young adults and have re-read value.

Read and discuss those books and then cycle back to them in a year or 2, when he's a bit older.
Books like

How to Win Friends and Influence People
Rich Dad, Poor Dad (they have a For Teens version, but I don't have it)
Eat the Frog
Magic of Thinking Big
Boundaries
Lean In
etc.

Edited by Gil
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Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a good one!

How about 

Al Capone Does My Shirts 

biography related to his interests

anything in the ESP section as well as Area 51

 

 

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Biographies of creators (of movies and whatever he likes) 

Behind-the-scenes type books of same

Other super-hero-adjacent books. Travis Langley is a PhD who wrote Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight and it was such a hit that it spawned a whole series for which he is lead writer, it's called the Popular Culture Psychology Series and many are available on Amazon. Both DC and Marvel, lol. If those don't quite do the trick, clicking on a few will likely lead to some additional suggestions from Amazon. 

What about YA nonfiction about teens who were heroes, spies, and so on? Science/nature/animal? These can often be found with enticing photographs. 

Possibly search for books using the terms "hi lo" or "high interest." These are books that are of high interest with lower reading levels. Even if he's not a struggling reader, he might enjoy some easier books that still correlate to teen interests and maturity levels. There are designated high interest books that are sold as such, but if you poke around you can also find lists of some 'regular' books that fall into this category. I used to sell some back when I sold a lot of books, and in general (and just skimming) I preferred the non-fiction to the fiction. The non-fiction could be any subject but DISASTER!! tended to be prominent in the titles, lol. Also dangerous, disgusting, and other d's that appeal to teens. The novels tended to be more like Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack, if Dinky had actually shot smack and got arrested and lived on the streets, lol. Lots of drugs, suicide, gang violence, teen pregnancy. I'm sure there are some good ones but I usually bought in sets so I couldn't pick and choose. 

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Does he have any interest in creating video games or superhero movies, even in a daydreamy sort of way? If so, you might check around for a comic con type event near you. These started long ago with a strong emphasis on comics, hence the name, but these days most of them have just as many panels on TV, movies, video games, and other aspects of pop culture. 

I have listened to many panelists who work in the industry, people always want to know the process and of course how do you get started, get successful, and so on. Time and again I have heard them say that the makers of pop culture don't only consume other pop culture; they read quality literature (any WTM'er would immediately recognize many of the tropes in superhero movies!), they are inspired by myths, they make Shakespearean references. Some quotes I scribbled: great readers make great writers; go to the source - don't just consume pop culture inspired by Shakespeare, go straight to Shakespeare; the best creators are informed by literature/history. 

Jumping back to something similar to high interest: have you tried any plain English versions of epics like Dante's Inferno or Paradise Lost? They are hard reads in most translations and many students zone out before they get to the bits involving gory torture or angels having sex (way better and less messy than human sex, if you were wondering). I had strong and willing readers but definitely benefited from some plain English, and it helped them to cover more ground than otherwise. I like the books with plain English on one side and fancy English on the other side. We would usually read these together, each with a copy, and that made it easy for me to quickly switch back and forth when I saw a passage I definitely wanted them to hear/read in a better translation (I rarely managed to plan ahead). I've done it with other students, too, and I just love to see them boggle when they realize the classics aren't all prim and proper, lol. It really says that? Yes. You read the plain English to them, and then the fancy English, see how that's saying the same thing? Ohhhh! Don't be too proud for plain English 😎

One more idea: if you watch superhero movies, too, or are willing to read up on them, you can draw parallels from characters in literature to characters in the movies. While tutoring in college, I once related almost every single character in an entire lit course to someone in The Guiding Light soap opera. This was during the Beth/Mindy/Philip/Rick days, so definitely a good time and she actually got a B. I've done it with other things. It's ridiculously easy to do with superheroes because they have such obvious roots in mythical gods and heroes. There's a wealth of quality mythology to read. Here's an interesting article: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150819-before-marvel-and-dc-superheroes-of-the-ancient-world

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On 4/14/2019 at 1:36 PM, mazakaal said:

 

Generally all he's interested in is video games and superhero movies. He's not really into sports. He's not interested in The Hobbit, Harry Potter, or Rick Riordan, but we haven't tried any of the other ones. Thanks!

 

I would try The Hunger Games, or Wings of Fire (start with the graphic novel, maybe).  

So, my teens ARE readers, but my teen gave my 10 year old the graphic novel to the first book of Wings of Fire and he LOVED it (and my 10 year old is a reluctant reader).   There's only two of the graphic novels out, but they are based on regular novels, so if he likes the graphic novels he might be tempted to try the regular novels just to get to the sequel quicker. 

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