Locker Combinations is a Book Case feature by BookPage contributor and young adult (YA) literature expert Jill Ratzan.
"Avid readers can easily be boggled at best—and horrified at worst—by teens who seem completely uninterested in reading. As adults who love the written word, we want the teens in our lives to love it too. So how can we reach out to teens who don't like to read?"
"There’s been some recent research from the National Literacy Trust showing that more and more children are reading from the screen of an electronic device rather than from books. Surprising? Not really. When you consider that many schools offer students daily computer access and have other types of technology such as tablets and interactive whiteboards, it appears to make sense. The study shows, however, that this penchant for digital reading is “potentially detrimental to children’s reading levels”. So should we try and curb children’s enthusiasm for electronic texts?"
"Eager readers look forward to the next thrill on the page — or on the screen, in the case of ebooks. Reluctant readers do not. They usually need a compelling reason to pick up a book, because something has taught them that reading is not 'fun.'"
Heather Stapleton's insight:
Another summary of "Attracting Reluctant Male Readers" session - ALA Annual 2013 Conference. A copy of B.A. Binns presentation is available for download from her website (link at end of article).
"Today I'm listing websites that promote books for boys. Most are blog sites. One is a "hotlist" of links to sites related to literature appealing to boys. As usual, I welcome all comments, additions and updates to this list, which will, eventually, have its own page on this blog site."
"...we’d like to present this wall of over 140 books that we think will speak to the boys of YA. They’re full of adventure, magic, real-world issues, and romance. Some of them are even written by - *gasp* - women. They give us all kinds of male figures: strong, brave, struggling, emotional, confused, and yes - even a few great role models. Most of all, they give us great stories for any reader -- almost all of these books appeal to us as adult women even though we are probably not the target audience from a marketing perspective. That being said, while we do think that there will always be outlier readers who feel comfortable reading anything and everything (and we love them for it), we also realize that it might be a struggle to hand-sell a book with a girl in a dress on the cover or a romance-driven plot to the "average" boy. We'd love to think of this list as a tool for educators, librarians, parents, and teens to find a great read for the boys in their lives, but anyone who enjoys a great story will find something in this wall of books."
"However, not every child is an avid reader, and boys particularly seem to find it harder to get into books, but there are many ways to get reluctant readers to brush up on their skills without making it feel like hard work."
"I realized it doesn’t matter if a book is “for” a guy or a girl; the gender of the intended audience tends to get all mixed up when you factor in the power of a good story. Boys like stories; girls like stories. Readers in general like stories. We need to forget what we think about boys and reading and find them the stories they want."
"I am updating my workshop on how technology can be used to promote Voluntary Free Reading - the only undebatably fool-proof means of both improving reading proficiency and developing a life-long love of reading in every student." - Doug Johnson
"Today I was asked how I get my boys reading, and while I am not an expert, and some of them still don’t read as much I would love them to, I do have a few ideas. (And yes, many of these apply to the girls as well)."
Heather Stapleton's insight:
Excellent tips from Pernille Ripp on encouraging boys (and girls) to read.
"They come into your library or classroom and they challenge you, they don't like reading. What can you do? Where do you look for ideas?What books are recommended by school librarians to turn things around? Ideas and suggestions here."
"Boys prove to be more eager readers when it's a social activity. Some area elementary schools have introduced reading clubs after noticing boys' scores on school reading assessments lagged behind those of girls.
...Children's authors and book publishers, as well as librarians and teachers, have responded by producing and stocking more boy-friendly materials, including action-adventure, humor and literary nonfiction."
"Here are a dozen strategies to motivate reluctant readers, and none of them involves stickers, certificates, or pizza. External rewards may work in the short term, but if you really want students to love reading you have to look for other options. Since this is just a quick overview, you’ll notice that some strategies contain links to additional sources that you can explore later"
"As a teacher, I was obsessed with cultivating a love of reading in my students. I love to read, loved it as a kid too. I'm equally compelled to ensure that my own child loves reading -- and he does. I well aware that I'm on a mission -- but I also know it's a worthy one!
Here are ten suggestions for how any teacher, teaching any subject can participate in this mission, and how parents and administrators can help."
"When confronted with over a hundred books, it can be really helpful to have expert recommendations – sort of like reader’s advisory about the reader’s advisory, if that’s not too meta for you all. While we were putting together yesterday's wall - 140+ Books for the Boys of YA – we thought we might branch out a little bit and ask some of the authors featured in the wall itself for recommendations." This post covers an impresive variety of quality (and fun) books for the young & young at heart - or even those who can just barely remember either state.