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Making Sure Boys Read
CanadaFreePress ^ | March 15, 2010 | Bruce Deitrick Price

Posted on 03/16/2010 2:42:55 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice

Boys and Reading:

Not to worry. Our top educators have pretty well got this thing figured out. It’s a two-punch combination, researched-based, that almost always works. Bingo, you don’t find American boys wasting precious time inside the pages of a book.

First of all, you want to make sure they don’t hear much about the alphabet (shhh!), letters, sounds all that right-wing nonsense. They have to learn to read with sight-words, Dolch words, whole words (all the same thing). And you want a whole lot of hoopla, thousands of brightly colored books lying around, and constant chatter about literacy and being a lifelong reader. All this stuff convinces parents that their kids, if they are halfway normal, will quickly learn to read. Ditto the boys. When they can’t memorize hundreds of sight-words, they know there’s something wrong with them and they give up pronto. And they keep their mouths shut. Perfect. The silence of the lambs pretty well describes it. 

Second, you’ve got to catch those boys who figure out phonics for themselves and actually make it through the sight-word minefield. A lot of boys just barely survive; they’re on the cusp. Give them some good comic books or Sports Illustrated for Kids, and they might break through. But you never do that. Here’s the secret formula. You say, this book is perfect for you! And you give them books intended for girls. Soft, sensitive, emotional books. Boys hate this stuff...."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Books/Literature; Conspiracy; Education; Society
KEYWORDS: education; illiteracy; k12; phonics; reading; reluctantreaders; sightwords
Article ends with crucial information: "But keep in mind where this article started. A lot of boys are NOT taught to read properly. So when you see them not reading, don’t always assume they are AVOIDING books. No, it’s quite possible they don’t know how to UTILIZE books. Nor do they know how to articulate what the problem actually is!

Here’s a very quick diagnostic you can use. Ask the boy to read any 200-words from a newspaper; say you want to hear his pronunciation of certain words; follow over his shoulder or (better) on a second copy. If he reads exactly what is on the page, even if slowly, you know he can actually read and just needs to be encouraged. But if he leaves out words, adds word, substitutes words, guesses wildly, or reads words backwards, then you know the boy can’t read. (See more details in “33: How To Help A Non-Reader to Read,” or suggestions for phonics programs in “42: Reading Resources,” both on

1 posted on 03/16/2010 2:42:55 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Boys are generally a little less verbal than girls, so unfortunately the push for early reading puts a lot of them at a disadvantage. In addition, girls are more praise-oriented, and will work for approval. Boys don’t care about this as much.

My advice is to read aloud to your kids as much as possible. And for the boys, read to them about things they’re interested in...and then they’ll just get out there and do it.

One of the problems is that a lot of the subject matter that boys might like (adventure books, even old ones, such as the Hornblower stories) is now non-PC and many younger parents either don’t know these books or feel they shouldn’t read them.

3 posted on 03/16/2010 2:51:31 PM PDT by livius
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To: livius

I taught my boys to read in first grade because their school wasn’t doing the job. My husband and I read to them daily.

At one point, the boys were getting antsy waiting for him to come home from work, eat dinner, and to finally read Lord of the Rings to them. I told them that when they learned to read at that level, they wouldn’t have to wait on anyone.

That was a big incentive. They liked the Hornblower stories, btw.

4 posted on 03/16/2010 3:29:23 PM PDT by cookiedough
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

I bought this book for my 10 year old nephew for his birthday. It got a lot of laughs at the party “Just the kind of thing you would get”

By the end of the day the boy was deep in the book and he took it to school the next day to read.

It is full of short article of the sort of things described in the article.

5 posted on 03/16/2010 3:31:47 PM PDT by Pontiac
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

I went from phonics, almost straight to the Hardy Boys. I still prefer a systematized approach to languages over word and phrase memorization—no “Learn X in 90 Days” will ever replace a good grammar.

6 posted on 03/16/2010 3:46:00 PM PDT by Caesar Soze
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To: Pontiac

Here’s a funny aside. I had this book in the first draft. But then it hit me. Fifty years ago, this book would have been called “The Tame Book for Boys.” I was a middle-class kid, but we did more dangerous stuff all the time. Remember chemistry sets? Firecrackers? Rifles?...I know it’s a good and helpful book but this realization made me less enthusiastic.

7 posted on 03/16/2010 4:15:46 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
All true, but in today’s litigious society, how dangerous can you make it.

I thought it a good book for a boy of 10 with no brothers, a dead father, a curious and mischievous mind.

8 posted on 03/16/2010 4:40:56 PM PDT by Pontiac
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To: Pontiac

Hmm, I went from reading nothing, learned by the first grade, and then onto Hardy Boys and Tom Swift. Then onto the old Marvel comics like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

My dad used to open a box and let me read through as many as I could polish off in his collection. Then he’d open up another box.

I don’t ever really remember ‘advancing’ in reading, I just read everything I got my hands on. By grade 8 I was getting into Heinlein and Asimov, and by then I could read anything you could throw at me. I’m pretty sure that by grade 6 I could have done the same, but I wasn’t all that interested in reading ‘difficult’ stuff just for the sake of reading difficult stuff. Like I said I read anything and everything I could get my hands on.

9 posted on 03/17/2010 1:03:38 AM PDT by BenKenobi (And into this Ring he poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life.)
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To: BenKenobi
In today’s society I think we will have to encourage reading more than in the past.

TV and video games are going to be hard to compete with.

I saw this with my stepson (now in his twenties). In conversations we had he compared video game plots with great literature.

With your average youthful male encouraging reading will be difficult.

10 posted on 03/17/2010 1:14:19 AM PDT by Pontiac
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To: Pontiac

It’s all about the best books. No one is going to pass by on reading once they get a taste of Tolkien.

Or Robert Lewis Stephenson. Yeah, videogames are interesting, but that is mostly because of their interactivity. I was one of the lucky folks who did reading first, and I’ll be doing that with my kids too.

11 posted on 03/17/2010 1:20:30 AM PDT by BenKenobi (And into this Ring he poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life.)
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To: BenKenobi
Great books use great words.

The vocabulary of your average American has shriveled away to a shadow of a specter. .

Unless a young man is willing to stretch his mind he is not likely to try the great works like Tolkien, not when the video is setting on the shelf.

I tell you it does help when the parents are readers. My dad was a reader and there where always books around. He was often reading. Particularly in the reading room if you get my meaning.

12 posted on 03/17/2010 2:16:10 AM PDT by Pontiac
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