Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Best Books for Boys by Pam Allyn
I wanted to share a great summer read for teachers! Over the last few weeks I have been reading Pam Allyn’s new book Best Books for Boys. This book shares some wonderful information about how boys feel about reading and how the things that parents and teachers do can help cultivate the way they feel about reading throughout their life.
Why the focus on books for boys? The author provides wonderful statistical information that answers this question. She shares one study done by the National Endowment for the Arts that showed that by 12th grade, boy’s average 13 points lower than girls on proficiency tests. In addition, think about your own classes. Haven’t you had more boys diagnosed with learning disabilities, receiving special education services, and prescribed mood-managing drugs? The book states that boys are twice as likely to experience all three of these things. A Harvard psychologist named William Pollack says, “Today’s schools are built for girls, and boys are becoming misfits.”
One of the main things that I took away from this book is that teachers may not be giving boys books that they WANT to read. Boys should be allowed and even encouraged to read a variety of topics as well as genres. This can include video/computer games, sports page/magazines, comic books/graphic novels, text messages, web sites, and blogs. Another wonderful resource available in this book is an annotated list of book titles and series available that might interest boys. This list is broken up into emerging, developing, and maturing levels and into several topics, such as Action and Adventure and Comic Books and Graphic Novels. I plan to spend time this summer reorganizing my classroom library and adding in some of the books listed in Best Books for Boys that I know will interest my male students!
I highly recommend this book for all teachers. The extensive list of books sorted by level and topic will be something that I pull off the shelf to refer to for years to come. It is a wonderful resource for teachers of all grade levels!The book is available on Amazon for under $15.00. Happy Reading!