Last week, Natalie Whipple of Between Fact and Fiction had an excellent post on boys and reading. Please stop by to read the article and the many excellent comments that follow. Susan Quinn over at Ink Spells has compiled the list of recommended boy books mentioned in Natalie’s comments section (well worth downloading) and has written her own thoughtful post on the matter.
Below is my comment at Natalie’s:
As a former teacher, a mother of two boys, and a writer with one boy book manuscript under my belt, this topic is very important to me.
I think the drop off in male readers (at the young adult level) happens for a couple of reasons. The number of titles is one reason. Girls are more comfortable reading about boys than boys are reading about girls. Bruce Coville has spoken on this before, that society sends a message certain books (stories with a female lead) aren’t really for boys. It happens early, fourth or fifth grade. Some will continue reading about girls (if they are the self-assured sort). Many won’t.
One thing that is so important is reading aloud. Children need to have this practice continued at home and in the classroom well beyond those lower elementary years. Parents (dads too!) need to model a reading lifestyle. Teachers and libararians should have open-ended discussions about books, engaging readers and non-readers alike.
An interest in reading for boys and girls drops off during the upper elementary years. Reading becomes more work than pleasure as school work gets harder and other activities compete for reading time. If we can continue to read to our children, this doesn’t have to be the case.
If we can help boys to be secure and confident, more titles will appeal to them.
If we produce more boy-centric stories, more boys will continue to read.
This is not easy, and there is no quick solution.
What do you think keeps boys reading?