Phase 1: Whatever you do, don’t read books you hate!

The most valuable tip I can give as you start Phase 1 is this: Read what you want, nothing that you hate.

Yep, it's that simple. The first 30 days of the Reading Game is all about you and what makes you feel comfortable. However, as I learned from many boys, this simple tip is much more complicated in reality.

Here's why:

Reason 1: Boys weren't allowed to read the books they wanted to, for example, Captain Underpants, comic books, graphic novels, magazines about skateboarding, music, video games, etc. So they stopped thinking about the things they liked reading.

Reason 2: A parent, teacher, or librarian told boys they had to read "appropriate" books, typically the ones they recommended. Instead, boys decided not to read.

Reason 3: Boys felt it wasn't worth fighting about books with adults. So they took the path of least resistance and just didn't read.

Maybe one, or all, of these reasons feel familiar to you, too, and why it becomes hard to know what you like and want to read.

To help my boys with this during Phase 1, I used to ask them a few questions to get them thinking and remembering and then give suggestions on finding books. I'd like to do the same thing with you.

Question 1: What do you love to do when you have free time? Answer with as many activities that you enjoy.

Question 2: Who are your favorite athletes, musicians, bands, actors/actresses, historical figures, etc.?

Question 3: What are you curious about and interested in learning?

Below are what many of my boys answered over the years:

Free-time activities: skateboarding, video games, football, soccer, baseball, basketball, building with Legos, watching TV, browsing the internet, drawing, making people laugh, etc.

Favorite famous people: LeBron James, Eminem, Martin Luther King, Jr, etc.

Curious about learning: solar system, Greek gods, World War I and II, etc.

You get the picture.

Once boys had a list like this in front of them, it was much easier to figure out what they wanted to read during Phase 1.

Many boys spent the first 30 days of the Reading Game:

  • rereading favorite picture books and series from when they were in younger
  • reading comic books, joke books or books like Captain Underpants that they weren't allowed
  • reading magazines, biographies, how-to books, and nonfiction based on things they enjoyed and cared about

Answering those questions, and knowing that their coach supported them at home, made the task of finding books during Phase 1 so much easier and way more fun! Hopefully they do the same for you.

Leave a Reply: I would love to hear from you and learn how your answers to the questions helped you find books that you want to read.

What you share can also help other boys not read books they hate.

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