Much has been written, and there’s been much discussion, about the gender gap in reading between boys and girls. A recent study points out that girls are closing their gap with boys when it comes to math, but boys still lag behind girls when it comes to reading.
Depending on the research or analysis of the research, we often hear that boys read less, or that they read simpler books. And, of course, there are folks out there who have ideas about how to get boys reading more.
There also seems to be a lack of respect about the books boys read: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, graphic novels all have their detractors.
Enter author and reading advocate Jon Scieszka, who was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Librarian of Congress in 2008. Schieszka is interested in getting all young people to read, but he has a particular interest in getting boys to read. He started Guys Read, a non-profit literacy organization, and his Guys Read web page is Literary Kitty’s site of the week. Cause, Literary Kitty is a guy, don’t you know! (OK, Kitty P., don’t get started!)
We have literacy programs for adults and families. GUYS READ is our chance to call attention to boys’ literacy.”
The raison d’etre and mission of Guys Reads is explained beautifully here. Visitors to the site can get books suggestions for reluctant readers, submit their own suggestions, and find out how to start a local Guys Read chapter.
Note that the site often focuses on boys in elementary and middle school grades, not older teens. But, the best way to get guys reading, is to catch ‘em and inspire ‘em while they’re young.
Watch Jon Scieszka’s interview with the folks at Reading Rockets.
Check out Szieszka’s book page on Amazon.
Boys like real life stories. Szieszka’s Guys Write for Guys Read is an anthology of authors writing about their experiences as boys.