July 5, 2012 “ENERGIZED” BOOKS
by Linda M. Penn
Welcome to Linda’s Blog! Do you have a struggling young reader in your household or know of one? Any of you who have taught in school or tried to sit down with a reluctant reader knows the frustration that comes with the efforts to help kids learn to read. Both girls and boys can have problems learning to read, but from my elementary school teaching experiences, boys were much more prone to reading difficulties than girls. I have no scientific research on this. I am just talking from experiences. Let’s explore this phenomenon.
In general, boys are more active than girls and of course, reading is a sedate pastime. So how do we mesh an energetic young man with a calm activity? In my opinion, we need more “energized” books to get into the hands of teachers and parents for young boys. All fiction books for girls and boys need to have interesting, kid-friendly storylines, but it may be more important for boys than girls.
I remember the suggested books to accompany our curriculum for kids in grades K, 1, 2, 3 (the grades where all kids are expected to emerge from beginning to proficient readers). It seemed to me these books were not very interesting to my male students.
I searched libraries for fiction stories that were more appealing to boys, but I found choices were quite limited. I did bring in some books about dinosaurs, snakes, bugs, wild animals, cars, trucks, and other “active” subjects. The boys paid much more attention than usual and even the girls paid attention. Some of the girls had to close their eyes a few times when seeing those illustrations of snakes! Well, I wanted to also, but I maintained my composure!
I also found kids’ nature magazines to be very appealing to the boys. They “oohed and aahed” at the exciting pictures and they wanted to learn more about the topic being explored. Just because the boys couldn’t read every word of a magazine article to themselves didn’t mean they weren’t learning. Pictures stimulate interest in a topic causing youngsters to want to learn to read. Anytime we can tap into this kind of “energy,” we are winning part of the battle in the war to get proficient readers.
In closing, my hope is to write stories for boys and girls that provide “energy,” stories that just reach out and grab the kids’ attention saying, ”join me, go through this adventure with me.” I invite any of you to let me know your opinion on this topic
P.S. Thanks for your comments about the June Blog. I am so glad to know there are Bookmobiles operating in some rural areas. Hopefully, I will learn soon how to respond to your comments on the actual website. There is so much to learn! Thanks to Larry DeKay for setting up and teaching me about a website. My goal is to post a new blog every 3-4 weeks. Tell me if you have topics you would like for me to address.
Copyright 2012 Linda M. Penn
All Rights Reserved