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Helping boys develop a love of reading can be challenging. The constant lure of technology can cause children to have shorter attention spans, especially as they approach their teen years. There is plenty of research to suggest that children whose parents read to them at a young age develop strong reading and cognitive skills. But as your son gets closer to his teens, it can be harder to keep him reading.

Last year we wrote a blog on the top reading and literacy apps for children, including apps that build on vocabulary and develop writing skills. These can certainly help, but the skills developed from reading are not easily replaced – skills such as expanding language skills, improving concentration and memory, stimulating the imagination and developing empathy. Here are five books to get your son reading in his pre-teen years and beyond.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

It’s likely that you would have seen Tim Minchin’s Matilda the Musical recently as it made its way around Australian theatres – and even more likely that your children went along with you. The musical is based on the Roald Dahl classic of course; a book that is relatable, full of fun and wit and bursting with amusing characters like Miss Trunchbull and Mr and Mrs Wormwood. The book is still as relevant today as when it was published in 1988, and sure to be a winner with your son.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

This series is an obvious choice based on its immense popularity. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is incredibly funny and highlights that children do not need to be cool – and in fact most are not. The setting of the books is in middle school which adds a ‘big kid’ nature; this can appeal to younger children who are curious about what is to come as they get older.

Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

Best friends George Beard and Harold Hutchins are the class clowns of the fourth grade, and the main protagonists in this hilarious series. The boys create a comic about a superhero called Captain Underpants then accidentally hypnotise their school principal who becomes the real-life Captain Underpants.

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

No children’s book list would be complete without Harry Potter. The seven-book series follows the adventures of Harry and his two best friends – Ron and Hermione – as they battle evil wizards, cast strange spells, drink butter beer and play games on broomsticks. The addictive series is sure to feed your son’s vivid imagination and get him hooked on reading.

Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

If your son is more of a science fiction buff than a fantasy fan, then Artemis Fowl might be the perfect fit. Written by Irish author Eopin Cofler, it features a highly intelligent teenage anti-hero called Artemis, who grows through the eight-book series to become more compassionate and trustworthy from his adventures. Themes of growing up, greed, trust, kindness and the difference between good and evil are prominent in the books.

The choice of books for boys are endless so we recommend treating this list as a starting point. Your son’s taste in books may differ and this might be a process of trial and error. Rest assured, persevering to find books that he enjoys will pay off in the end.


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William Elder


Mr Alan Elder was born in Scotland and migrated to Australia with his parents at a young age. He attended The Scots College for all his schooling, graduating in 1944. He played 1st XI Cricket and was a member of the College Cadet Unit. After leaving school Mr Elder studied accountancy and retained a life-long love of the College, especially the Pipes and Drums. Mr Elder never married, however the significant bequest he left will allow his Scots family to remember him through the Lang Walker Business Centre.