Men Who Read Learn to Lead 

I read an troubling post recently that The Reading Gap between young boys and girls is growing dramatically. The post also quotes the American Psychological Association that American Girls Read and Write Better than American Boys. This growing disparity is alarming and can have long-term impacts on men’s success in various aspects of life. Well, it’s time to shrink the gap by encouraging more boys and men to start reading again. We need more men leading —or at least keeping up with women, rather than falling behind. As Harry Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” 

Some people believe men are lost and our boys are not all right. Not only are males falling behind in the education system but they lead statistically in the “deaths of despair” from suicide, drug addictions, and alcoholism. Too many males disengage, are uncommunicative, and become passive. They withdraw from life and abdicate their responsibility for themselves and their responsibilities for others. Frankly, I believe they have lost the right to lead by losing their interest in reading.

Why does this matter? Because raising boys to thrive and to be positive contributors to society depends increasingly on their ability to read and write.

Let’s Get Boys Reading Again!

For several years now, I have followed Dr. Michael Gurian, a social philosopher who pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. Author of Saving Our Sons: A New Path for Raising Healthy and Resilient Boys, Dr. Gurian says better reading starts in the home. In the aforementioned post, The Reading Gap, Gurian provides some interesting steps in the right direction:

  1. Rediscover your own love for reading. Let your children/boys see you reading. It’s particularly important for boys to see the men in their lives reading.
  2. Find books your son enjoys. Find fast-paced, humorous, and page-turning books. It doesn’t have to be a “traditional book.” If graphic novels (comic books) work for your son, then graphic novels it is.
  3. Move your son from reading a screen to reading a book. The screen offers too many temptations to move on to something else. Holding, feeling, smelling the book, turning pages, putting in a bookmark or dog-earing a page help involve all of his senses. (E-Readers are better than screens, but can’t compete with the whole “book” experience.)
  4. Read a book together. Either read it with him, taking turns reading out loud together, or read it separately and discuss each chapter for a few minutes.
  5. Find a movie your son is interested in. If it’s based on a book, read the book before seeing the movie. Then talk about the differences between the book and the movie and why the screenwriter may have made the changes she/he made.
  6. Set aside reading time each day. Before screen time—reading time. This doesn’t need to be a chore or punishment if you are helping your son develop a love for reading.
  7. Share with your son the many benefits of reading vs. screen time. Some boys are inspired by the science behind how their brains work and what’s good for their brains.

More and more, I hear excuses from guys that “I’m just not a reader” or “I do all my reading on my phone.” So let’s give them better reasons to read.

Share Your Story!

What books are you currently reading? Do you have any additional suggestions on how to get more boys and men reading again?  Feel free to add your comments below.


Wisdom for Men is based on my opinions on topics that help men become better men. The sources used for these posts are not fact-checked, but support my theory that men are better with deeper, more authentic friendships. My GodBuddy theory is based on biblical principles but applies to all men, regardless of their beliefs. Better friendships among men will help solve the crisis of male friendships and many of today’s problems… because the world needs better men!

[Feature Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash]

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