Friday, January 4, 2008

Boys and Books

James Moloney's Boys and Books: Building a culture of reading around our boys is an excellent book about boys who are reluctant to read (such as I frequently encounter in my classroom). It encourages parents, teachers and other adults in such boys' lives, and is full of useful strategies and suggestions. It finishes with several substantial lists of recommendations.

For me, the other helpful thing I got from Moloney, in the context of me trying to build my own recommended reading lists for my students, was an emphatic don't criticise—which I knew, but it was worth my considering this instruction in the particular arena of boys' reading. As in, if a student (boy or girl) chooses to read something with which I disagree, or of which I disapprove, I still need to be positive and encouraging about the simple fact that they are reading. A discussion about the (style or substance of the) reading material is preferable; better yet to ask the young person in question to explain what they're reading and/or to defend their opinions with reference to what they've read.

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