Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reaching Out to Reluctant Young Male Readers

Link to August 11 AP story in Green Bay Press-Gazette, "Authors get creative to catch the attention of young male readers"

Excerpt: Can fart jokes save the reading souls of boys? You better hope so. Boys have lagged behind girls in reading achievement for more than 20 years, but the gender gap now exists in nearly every state and has widened to mammoth proportions — as much as 10 percentage points in some, according to the Center on Education Policy.

"It certainly should set off alarm bells," said the center's director, Jack Jennings. "It's a significant separation."

Parents of reluctant readers complain that boys are forced to stick to stuffy required school lists that exclude nonfiction or silly subjects, or have teachers who cater to higher achievers and girls. They're hoping books that exploit boys' love of bodily functions and gross-out humor can close the gap.

"It's like pulling out fingernails. He absolutely does not want to read," said Muscle Shoals, Ala., dad Todd Thompson of his 13-year-old, Hunter. "I read constantly growing up. So did his mother. So does his 8-year-old sister, but he's a go-go kid. To him, books are a waste of time."

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Mich., the 47-year-old Thompson loved two things: football and books. His mom encouraged regular trips to the library. His dad inspired him to dig into the Chip Hilton sports novels written by legendary basketball coach Clair Bee

(Retiring Guy was a big fan of this series once upon a time, long before he would have automatically associated "VF" with "vertical file".)

Related articles:
Op-Ed: High School Teacher and Mom on Why Boys Read Less Than Girls. (7/31/2010)
So that's why they don't have time to go to the library.  (12/09/2009)
Getting boys enthusiastic about reading.  (4/10/2009)

1 comment:

max said...

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Max Elliot Anderson
Rockford, IL