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Parent corner

Getting boys to read 

"If you are going to get boys to read, you must recognize the things that make boys different," says librarian and educator Michael Sullivan. Sullivan, author of the book "Connecting Boys with Books: What Librarians Can Do" recently presented a workshop through the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES on how to encourage boys to read.

The seminar was attended by several Guilderland Central School District librarians, who shared some of Sullivan's findings:

Did you know?

On average, boys read 1.5 years behind girls

A recent study showed that girls read 15.6 hours per week versus boys, who typically read only about 2.3 hours per week

60% of A's in the classroom go to girls; 70% of D's and F's go to boys

80% of high school dropouts are male

Sullivan offered all educators, including parents, a challenge: reach out to boys on their turf; that is, find out what makes them tick and connect them with books that appeal to their interests.

Practical strategies
Sullivan also offered some additional strategies:

Find and promote male readers as role models

Use active learning by adding physical stimulation to reading time (boys' brains learn better with music, movement, etc.)

Use the power of chess, games, and other challenging (and competitive) activities

Reach out with stories that resonate with boys at each particular age

Talk about books in ways that make boys listen

Read to boys; tell stories


Online resources
The following links provide useful information and ideas to help get boys reading:

Trelease on ReadingDon't just have books for boys - promote the mind and promote male readers as role models

Scholastic Instructor - "Getting Boys to Read: It's the Context!"

No Flying, No Tights for Teens - reviews of graphic novels

Young Adult Librarians' Homepage - reading lists, awards

Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site - comprehensive site on the topic

Michael Sullivan's Home Page - boys and books

Guys Read - the web site of Jon Scieszka, author of the Time Warp Trio

Kathleen Odean - excellent resource from an expert in the field


Print resources

Connecting Boys with Books: What Librarians Can Do by Michael Sullivan

"Reading Don't Fix No Chevys": Literacy in the Lives of Young Men by Michael Smith

Even Hockey Players Read: Boys, Literacy and Learning by Gail de Vos