Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Reading for boys.

 I have not yet read the detail of this report,( Boys_Commission_Report.pdf (application/pdf Object) but the executive summary suggests that there is absolutly no reason why boys should not be reading as avidly as girls. There is no strange quirk in the male brain that stops boys from enjoying reading. I also believe that boys DO read, because I have caught them at it, devouring books, magazines, web pages, newspapers in a school library, on children's mobile libraries or at home. The problem appears to be more the fault of adults. The exectutive summary of this report says that adults expectations of boys are at fault, teachers don't know about the right books, adults don't buy the right books.

The point is, adults don't look and take note of what the boys are reading, for example the sports pages of a newspaper, or a website about their favourite online game. The exective summary concludes that contact with a regular (weekly) male reading role model gets boys into the reading habit. During the time I spent working on and researching children's mobile libraries I observed many males being a reading role model. Not only male CML operators reading stories aloud, but also male operators quietly reading to themselves in full view of the children and male parents reading to their children (male and female). Male operators also praise boys' reading and discuss their choice of book with them, as an equal because the operator has read that book.

There are a number of other reasons why childrens mobile libraries are a conduit to boys reading enjoyment.
  • They can choose whatever book/reading matter they want from a wide variety, uncensored by parent or teacher (mostly)
  • They are in an enviroment where reading is accepted by their peers
  • They respond well to the individual attention they recieve on a CML and the informal situation
  • The nature of the learning environment found on a CML including humour, fun and adventure, matches the learing style of most boys. 
So, my solution is, get more children's mobile libraries, and send them out into the world seeking out boys, luring them out fom behind their computers and draging them from the playing fields! 

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