Not a news flash: boys do read. Andrew Smith talks about this, and I look forward to hearing more from him and authors G.Neri, Greg Van Eekhout, Allen Zadoff, Jonathan Auxier, and John Stevens at this event.
I know boys read because they check out books from my classroom library. One of my boys asked today if he could check out more than one, and I handed him a pile. I did an informal, non-scientific survey of my informal, non-scientific check-out system(pieces of scratch paper) and right now I have more boys reading books than girls.
Today one of my boys gave me a special boxed copy of The Hunger Games, because he said that he thought I would like it. I didn't well up or get weepy in front of him, because he would have been horrified and I only cry when I read Andrew Smith or Sara Zarr books, anyway.
Not a news flash: Boys are sensitive. And kind.
Not a news flash: Boys are human beings.
A long time ago I was assigned to teach a class called Developmental Reading. It was all boys and one girl. There were no good books. There were things posing as books, but I felt stupid when I looked at them in the storage room. I felt stupid because the book basically said If You Are Reading This You Must Be Stupid. Or a Boy.
I left them in the storage room.
We read a lot of different things. I probably learned more than my students did. I learned that if you want kids to read you don't put them in a class called Developmental Reading. I learned that kids can go through ten years of school with undiagnosed problems. I learned that if I asked a direct question I got an honest answer.
We had a lot of conversations I still remember.
Not a news flash: Boys read good books. They may not want to read the same books as girls. They are not girls. They are boys.
Newsflash! If we stop condescending to boys about reading we would all be better off.
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