Friday, October 26, 2007

More on Boys and (Not) Reading...

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an article this past Wednesday on the topic of boys' lack of interest in reading for which they interviewed Walter Dean Myers who stressed that education does not end at school. Said Myers: "Too many parents have walked away from this idea ... that education is a family concept, is a community concept, is not simply something that schools do." Parents, he said, need to talk to their sons about reading.

The article, mentions, as others have, that the children's publishing industry does not make enough of an effort to publish and market books to young male readers. Myers even seems to suggest that more male editors are needed, saying, "I've never had a male editor."

(For more on this topic, see page 37 of the 2008 CWIM for Delacorte editor Krista Marino's article "Writing for Boys: An Editor's Advice on Reaching These Often Reluctant Readers.")

As the parent of a boy, reading on this topic always concerns me a bit. I can't imagine having a son who grows up without loving (or at least liking) books. I talk to Murray about books and we read books often and we make evenings of trips to the bookstore. There's no chance that he won't hear about books at home. Plus there's pretty much no direction one can look in any room in my house and not see books.

But what if he ends up friends with a bunch of video-game-
playing hooligans with no interest in literature? These are the kinds of thoughts that bonk around in my brain at two in the morning on weeknights after the cat wakes me up: How do I get him to eat more vegetables? Does he already like TV too much? Will his binky make him need braces? What if his tween-age friends are video-game-playing hooligans? It's a wonder I ever sleep.


Kris Bordessa said...

Have faith! I have two boys, 12 & 15 who are both AVID readers. True, we limit the electronic diversions some, but even before they hit the age of Nintendo, they enjoyed books and in spite of Mario, they still do.

Lori said...

Absolutely agreee with your comments about education -- why do some parents feel it's not their job? And, yes -- have faith! My two boys, 8 and 10, are avid readers, too. They have limits on electronic passtimes, but both love to read and I'm sure it's because we live in a house full of books.

writermama said...

Awww. How sweet.

We have a similar rocker that we've been rocking our daughter in for five years. It's kinda worn out...but she loves it.

And she does love to read. So I wonder, is it a gender thing? I don't know. I have one brother who loves books and music and another who loves TV and the Internet.

Let's hope it has more to do with parental influence, than anything else! In which case, I'm sure your son will be all set.

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