Research from both Australia and overseas consistently shows that girls outperform boys in literacy, while boys outperform girls in numeracy. The reasons why are less about gender and more about a complex mix of socio-economic status and other factors.
While most of us are aware that reading skills are vital for day-to-day life, Australian Reading Hour sites the following reasons why reading is important:
- Increasing literacy and numeracy skills has a positive and significant effect on jobs.
- Reading reduces stress by up to 68 percent and does so more quickly than listening to music, going for a walk or having a cup of tea.
- Children who know adults who read for pleasure take it for granted that reading is valuable.
- The more leisure books people read, the more literate they become and the more prosperous and equitable the society they inhabit.
- Reading a gripping novel causes positive biological changes in the brain that can last for days.
- When tested for empathy, readers of narrative fiction scored significantly higher than other groups.
- Reading is closely linked to increasing our understanding of our own identities.
- It was found by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research that reading to children six to seven days a week puts them almost a year ahead of those who are not being read to.
There are, however, easy measures parents can take to develop a love of reading in their son.
1. Model reading behaviour – don’t save it for when the kids go to bed. Let them see you read.
2. Read to your children – new research shows that children benefit from being read to well into their teens!
3. Make books prominent in the home – have books of all sorts readily available for the family to read.
4. Discuss books – talk about books with your children by asking: what they enjoyed about them, what their favourite parts were, how the characters were feeling and how they may have changed the ending.
5. Help your son find books he’s interested in – series are a good way to keep your son reading. To make it easier to find books to engage your son, we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of book series for boys to sink their teeth into, broken down by different age groups.
Primary Years (Age 8 – 12)
The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
These are great early chapter books with lots of cheeky humour and unexpectedly playful artwork. The books feature ‘bad guys’ (wolf, shark, snake and piranha) who are endeavouring to make good. Perfect for boys aged six to nine years. There are nine books in the series so far, with titles that will appeal to boys such as The Bad Guys Episode 5: Intergalactic Gas, and The Bad Guys: Episode 7: Do-You-Think-He-Saurus?!
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
Very popular with Year 5 and 6 boys at Trinity Grammar School, this fantasy series tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner who journey to an enchanted foreign land through the mysterious powers of a precious book of stories. The series of six books follows the boys on their adventures as they meet the fairy tale characters they’ve read about.
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
Trinity‘s most borrowed graphic novels in the primary years are beautifully drawn with an exciting fantasy storyline. Readers will explore a world of man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot — and two ordinary children on a mission. There are eight books in the series so far and they follow the escapades of Emily, a young girl who discovers a magical amulet in her great-grandfather's house.
Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz
Alex Rider is a teen spy. After nearly 20 years of fighting crime and getting into all manner of dangerous situations, Alex Rider remains one of the most popular children's book heroes. The series comprises 11 novels, as well as five graphic novels, three short stories and a supplementary book. These adventures are exciting, well written and recommended for children aged 11 and up.
Middle Years (Age 12 - 15)
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
His Dark Materials is an epic trilogy of fantasy novels. It follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes. Even though the first book was published more than 20 years ago, the books offer lessons in rejecting corruption, looking to facts over unsupported theories and being honest to yourself and accepting of others.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Percy is a demigod, the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. His life changes completely as he finds himself at a training camp for demigods. Percy and his demigod friends fight mythological monsters and the forces of the titan lord Kronos in these stories of adventure. There are five books in the series.
Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan
This series of 12 medieval fantasy novels feature central character Will, along with his friends from Castle Redmont. Known for their swift and silent moves, the ability to scale heights and their precise archery skills they are the Rangers - striving to keep the Kingdom of Araluen safe from invaders, traitors and threats.
The Felix Series by Morris Gleitzman
Once, Then, After, Soon, Maybe and Now is a series about the Holocaust and Nazi domination that starts out being told from a child’s viewpoint, by Felix, a 14-year-old Polish Jewish boy. The reader witnesses terrifying, incomprehensible incidents, but as Felix grows in understanding he realises the truth behind the events. Later books in the series are told by the adult Felix.
Senior Years (Age 15 – 18)
The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch
These are the adventures of Peter Grant, a young officer in the Metropolitan Police, who, following an unexpected encounter with a ghost, is recruited into the small branch of the Met that deals with magic and the supernatural. Peter solves crimes across London in a sensational blend of inventive urban fantasy, gripping mystery thriller and hilarious fantasy caper.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
A young adult high fantasy novel series that follows the journey of 18-year-old Celaena Sardothien, an assassin in a corrupted kingdom with a tyrannical ruler. After being imprisoned by the king, she accepts his son's offer to compete with other assassins and thieves. Over time, Celaena is drawn into a conspiracy and a series of battles, leading to discoveries surrounding both the kingdom and herself.
The Checquy Files by Daniel O’Malley
With two books so far in the series, they feature character Myfanwy Thomas. Myfanwy is a Rook in the British Checquy secret agency, which has a hierarchy termed by chess pieces. The Checquy agents have a variety of enhanced powers to fight supernatural threats.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
This timeless saga ridicules modern society in a funny and cynical way. Mixing comedy and science-fiction, the series centres on character Arthur Dent, whose house is about to be demolished by bulldozers. The destruction is part of a larger plan by the Vogons, an alien race, to destroy Earth to make way for an interstellar bypass. The Englishman has to learn to cope with Vogon poetry, the vacuum of space and the discovery that the Earth is in fact a giant supercomputer designed to provide the ultimate question to life, the universe and everything.
Discworld by Terry Pratchett
A comic fantasy book series set on Discworld, a flat planet balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. The books frequently parody or take inspiration from the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, as well as mythology, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with cultural, political and scientific issues. There are 41 novels in the series.
Cirque du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan (pen name of Darren O'Shaughnessy)
This young adult 12-part book series is about the struggle of a boy who has become involved in the world of vampires. Darren Shan's an ordinary schoolboy, until he and his best friend Steve get tickets to the Cirque Du Freak. When they encounter a vampire among the performers, their lives are changed forever, and Darren is reborn as a creature of the night.
Trinity provides an abundance of opportunities which nurtures boys to grow into men who are clear and passionate about their unique talents. We actively encourage our students to grow in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man, in order that they may become responsible, contributing members of society.
We aim to help boys discover their innate talents and unlock their full potential within the context of a supportive Christian environment. We have guided boys to grow in mind, body and spirit for over a century and we know what boys need to truly flourish and succeed.
To experience Trinity for yourself and to find out why we are one of the top schools for boys in Sydney, register for our open day.