Saturday, September 3, 2011

Getting Boys to Read—Part Three

(continued—Part Three Getting Boys to Read)

Sullivan suggests parents and teachers let boys read what they want, no matter how gross or fantastical, and avoid getting caught up in a book’s page count or reading level. “Kids don’t read to their reading level,” Sullivan says. “Kids read to their interest level.”

Experts say even graphic novels, comic books, and video game guides are good reading material. “Reading is reading and the more practice kids get reading on their own, and the more they hear books read aloud, the more skills they pick up,” says Lisa Von Drasek, head children’s librarian at Bank Street College of Education in New York City. “They are hearing and seeing words, building a vocabulary that they will recognize as they read, and that makes reading easier. They know how words sound, what they mean and what they look like in print. It’s all part of expanding literacy.”

  • Add stimuli to a boy’s environment. Boys’ and girls’ brains are stimulated differently, Sullivan explains. A boy might not be as willing to sit in a chair for two hours and read. “He needs something to wake up his brain,” he explains. Consider letting him sprawl out on the floor, move around or have the television or radio on. Adding sound, color, motion and kinetic energy to a boy’s environment will encourage him to read, Sullivan comments.

  • Remember the importance of reading to relate. “Boys, like all children, want to see characters like themselves sometimes,” Helping Underachieving Boys Read Well and Often (, notes. “Therefore, materials should feature people of different ethnicities, races, and backgrounds who live in a variety of types of homes and communities.”

  • And remember, boys typically like reading books written about boys. “We’ve seen that when children, particularly Black boys, see themselves reflected in books, they’ll be more likely to read,” says Wade Hudson, co-founder of Just Us Books and author of several books featuring Black boys, including Jamal’s Busy Day and Anthony’s Big Surprise. “So it’s that much more important to provide our boys with books that reflect people, neighborhoods, cultures and experiences they can relate to.”

Getting Boys to Read, copyright 2008 and 2011 by Just Us Books, Inc. All rights reserved. For permission to reproduce please contact Rights & Permissions, Just Us Books, Inc. 356 Glenwood Avenue, East Orange, NJ 07017 973.672.7701

No comments: