Tuesday, March 2, 2010

About Reader's Workshop: The Boy Reader

It seems that there are a lot of people who really want boys to have a problem with reading. I hear about it all the time at school, how we need to buy more low level, high interest books for the boys. How we need to have active move around strategies to get the boys to read . . . The latest is a survey done in England (the methods are a little questionable) saying that boys are reading easier books than the girls - probably because there's so many low level, high interest books written for them.

I'm just going to put it out here - Boys, with the right book at the right time with the right encouragement, are just as good at reading as girls.

I admit to a little bias. You see, my dad is a reader. He reads everything from biographies, to non-fiction, to spy thrillers and war novels. He borrows from the library and gets books as presents. He never throws away a book. And my husband is a reader too. He lapsed there for a while at university, but is now plowing his way through books heavier than I can throw. My father-in-law is also a reader. Obviously no one told them that they weren't supposed to be good at reading.

Are we making the problem worse by saying boys are poor readers? By handing them hastily written books that are supposed to be easy and appeal to them, instead of books that are thought about and carefully written? Are we lowering the expectations on boys, and then being surprised when they don't surpass them?

Even before I started teaching using the reader's workshop model, I found that boys were reading just as well as girls - as long as you expected it. When I recommended books like Artemis Fowl and Cherub, the boys devoured them. Since I've been teaching reader's workshop, I've seen so many boys become more confident in their reading choices, and reading books I don't think they ever imagined they could. Yes, sometimes they enjoy a book that's easier then their regular level (a good story is a good story, no matter how easy or hard it is), so it's my job to make sure they can balance that with lots of books written at more challenging levels.

When you expect boys to be poor readers, they'll be very good at meeting your expectations. When you offer them time, choice and good recommendations - well, you might be surprised at what your boys can do . . .

Read more about Reader's Workshop here

photo from flickr


A Reader's Community

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Queensland, Australia
A Reader's Community is a place to find ideas, information, resources and recommendations about Reader's Workshop.

This Blog has five main types of posts.

About Reader's Workshop - information about Reader's Workshop in my classroom and how it works

Reader's Workshop Tools - resources you can access and use to help you with reader's workshop

Book talks - Book recommendations of two or three books centred around a particular theme

Book letters - in-depth reviews of one particular book

Reader's Workshop Links - Short links lists to help you find more information
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