From: Lenona on
I happened to stumble on this today, when reading about "Crazy for the
Storm: A Memoir of Survival," the autobiography of Norman Ollestad,
who, at age 11 in 1979, was the only survivor of a small plane crash
in the San Gabriel Mountains and had to get down an icy mountain in a
blizzard to survive.

The following is about him and his son Noah. Sure, it may seem obvious
- just tell the kid you'll keep reading to him if he'll read to you at
least half the time, but it bears repeating. (I seem to remember that
in "A Little Princess," Ermengarde loved to LISTEN to stories, but
loathed reading them on her own, in part because she hadn't yet
learned to believe in her own intellect, which her father insisted on
believing in. And in Jim Trelease's "The Read-Aloud Handbook," there
was a girl who kept pretending she couldn't read because her bedtime
storytime with her mother was the only real time they had together at
all, and she was afraid that would disappear if she started reading on
her own. She may have been right, but since she finally expressed her
fear, things turned out well for her.)

Lenona.

_________________________

It was time for my eight-year old son, Noah, to read before bed. "Eh,"
he groaned. "Reading is so boring. It sucks." He’d been reciting this
same mantra for months. I was resting beside him in his bed and I saw
his whole life crumble--a slew of poor report cards and father-son
arguments, ending in long term unemployment. "What about Dr. Seuss?" I
reasoned. He glared at me with his brown eyes. "It's okay," he
mumbled. I opened the book he was reading for his class and handed it
to him. He stared at it, mute. "Noah," I said from my lowest register.
He proceeded to read at a snail's pace and I pointed out that it would
take him twice as long as usual to get through the required five
pages. So he ran the words together, not even stopping at periods. I
grabbed the book and told him we'd be reading all weekend to make up
for his lack of cooperation. For months I coerced him like that,
urging him past his lazy monotone, trying to get him to connect with
the story. It was a long few months.

When I was Noah's age I also disliked reading. I just wanted to hear
the story without having to work for it. I had wished my dad could
work the same kind of magic he did with surfing: he'd push me into the
waves so that I could simply enjoy the ride, eliminating the most
arduous, frustrating part of surfing--paddling for the wave.

My father was always asking my mother, who was a grade-school teacher,
why I wasn't a better reader. She advocated patience, and encouraged
me by tirelessly pointing out things in each story that I might relate
to. My father was killed when I was eleven, so he never got to witness
my eventual love of reading.

In order to help Noah find that love, I searched for a seminal moment
in my past that had transformed me. There was no single thing. But
during my reminiscences I flashed on Dad reading aloud my
grandparents' monthly letters from Mexico. They had retired to Puerto
Vallarta and their letters were filled with stories. Stories about an
inland village where Grandpa went twice a week to buy ice for their
fridge, to keep their food cold. Stories about helping a Mexican
family after a hurricane hit Puerto Vallarta. Stories of secret
waterfalls and secluded isthmuses that Grandpa and Grandma had
discovered around Vallarta. And that’s when it hit me--it was very
simple: the essence of my love for reading really emanates from my
love for stories.

"How about I tell you a story tonight," I whispered with great zeal to
Noah. His eyes lit up and he smiled. "What kind of story?"

"Any kind," I said.

"A story about a magic skateboard would be cool," he suggested. As I
spun the impromptu tale, he rolled onto his side and stared at me,
totally focused. The following night I made a bargain with him: "First
read five pages, then I'll work up a story about whatever you want."
Before I got myself nestled beside him, he was halfway through the
first page. Progressively, Noah's topics became more elaborate, and
soon he was giving me outlines for stories. Somewhere along the line
his reading voice changed--he was gobbling up the sentences, his voice
alive with inflection. He'd broken through. Noah was hooked on
stories, like I got hooked on riding waves. Once he'd experienced the
pleasure of going on that narrative ride, reading became second
nature, like paddling for a wave. It all starts with a good story.
From: Lenona on

Forgot to say something that is obvious to many, but not all. Namely,
what really matters in getting boys to read is having the FATHER do a
lot of the reading aloud when the boy is very young. Or some other
male relative or family friend. The reason for this is that boys who
are read to only by mothers and female teachers find it too easy to
conclude that reading is for girls and that it's unfair to expect boys
to enjoy reading to themselves. This can get aggravated if the boy's
male classmates tell him the same thing. So reading to boys even
after they're quite old enough to read on their own is only, you might
say, the icing on the cake.

But, of course, Ollestad's anecdote serves as a reminder that
sometimes the un-iced cake isn't nearly enough.

Lenona.
From: enigma on
Lenona <lenona321(a)yahoo.com> wrote in
news:1ce219e1-ef30-413e-aa81-4c8fb60f641d(a)i31g2000yqm.googlegroups.
com:

>
> Forgot to say something that is obvious to many, but not all.
> Namely, what really matters in getting boys to read is having
> the FATHER do a lot of the reading aloud when the boy is very
> young. Or some other male relative or family friend. The reason
> for this is that boys who are read to only by mothers and female
> teachers find it too easy to conclude that reading is for girls
> and that it's unfair to expect boys to enjoy reading to
> themselves. This can get aggravated if the boy's male classmates
> tell him the same thing.

seriously? my son is going to be 10, just finished 4th grade reading
on an 11-12th grade level. he doesn't like having his dad read to him
(although when we were transitioning him from sleeping in our bed to
his own room at age 3, daddy put him to bed & read to him for about 2
years). i read to him every night. then he reads for an hour or more.
he reads during the day when other kids might watch tv or play video
games (he *hates* video games because his friends are too busy
playing their Wii to come out to play with him). it never occured to
him that reading might be "girly" because reading is fun &
interesting.
this: "The reason
> for this is that boys who are read to only by mothers and female
> teachers find it too easy to conclude that reading is for girls
> and that it's unfair to expect boys to enjoy reading to
> themselves."
is a load of bull. it sounds like some wacko reasoning by an adult,
not how a child thinks at all.
lee
From: Lenona on
On Jun 17, 8:04 pm, enigma <eni...(a)evil.net> wrote:

> Lenona <lenona...(a)yahoo.com> wrote innews:1ce219e1-ef30-413e-aa81-4c8fb60f641d(a)i31g2000yqm.googlegroups.

> > the reason for this is that boys who are read to only by mothers and female
> > teachers find it too easy to conclude that reading is for girls
> > and that it's unfair to expect boys to enjoy reading to
> > themselves."
>
> is a load of bull. it sounds like some wacko reasoning by an adult,
> not how a child thinks at all.


Not exactly "wackos," these.

From Jim Trelease, author of the never-out-of-print "The Read-Aloud
Handbook":

"Fathers should make an extra effort to read to their children.
Because the vast majority of primary-school teachers are women, young
boys often associate reading with women and schoolwork. And just as
unfortunate, too many fathers would rather be seen playing catch in
the driveway with their sons than taking them to the library. It is
not by chance that most of the students in U.S. remedial-reading
classes are boys. A father's early involvement with books and reading
can do much to elevate books to at least the same status as sports in
a boy's estimation."

Also, in his book, Trelease mentions a mother who claimed her son
"hates to read," but it turned out he read every issue of "Sports
Illustrated," which she assumed didn't count, since it was only a
nonfiction magazine. He said it counted a lot and she should start
taking an interest in the magazine.

And in Paul Kropp's 1995 book "How to Make Your Child a Reader for
Life" (aka "Raising a Reader"), he mentions one case where a mother
was having trouble getting her son to be enthusiastic about books,
even though she read to him a lot. Kropp asked her what her husband
read to their son and she looked at him in a puzzled way. "My husband?
My husband doesn't have time to read - he's a man." I.e., (I think)
if she works 40 hours a week and he works 60, that's another hurdle.
At the very least, I suspect Kropp wouldn't have mentioned that
episode if he didn't think it weren't a common problem/cause.

(I love the part where he - politely - tears apart a mother for saying
she can't make her daughter stop watching TV because when the mother
turns it off, her daughter cries.)

From: http://www.ericdigests.org/2004-3/role.html

"Although mothers' education historically has been used as the primary
predictor of children's achievement, educational research increasingly
is examining the effect of father-child interaction on children's
early learning, particularly among fathers with low incomes (Gadsden,
Brooks, & Jackson, 1997)."

and

"Research suggests that even when fathers have limited schooling,
their involvement in children's schools and school lives is a powerful
factor in children's academic achievement. [...] Research that
examines the extent to which fathers are involved with their
children's schools (e.g., Nord, Brimhall, & West, 1997) has generally
shown that fathers are less involved than mothers in all types of
school activities."

http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0809/a-guys.html
Jon Scieszka, teacher and famous author of "The Stinky Cheese Man,"
and founder of www.guysread.com gets quoted a lot in this one.

And (regarding other reasons boys might balk at reading)

http://sandraharmon.pbworks.com/The-Importance-of-Reading
(This one has multiple pieces - including one where Scieszka mentions
an 8-year-old boy whose class is reading "Little House on the
Prairie," which the boy calls "just awful." There's also a great piece
by an English teacher who came to realize just how valuable audiobooks
might be for students who may never learn to like "reading" at all,
but who do like listening to a good story.)

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA439816.html
("Why Johnny Won't Read" by Michael Sullivan, 2004)


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rff/message/2946?l=1
("Why Johnny Won't Read" - Jon Scieszka, Washington Post, 2002)

Scieszka's son was read to by his father often. So, in 2002, when he
was in high school, what was his attitude? "Reading is definitely for
girls."

Scieszka points again to the lack of fathers reading to sons, but
adds:

"I think schools and parents sometimes handicap their efforts to get
boys reading by not offering boys the books that will inspire them to
want to read. So many required reading lists and favored books in
schools reflect women's reading tastes. That's not to say that Little
House on the Prairie, Charlotte's Web and The Color Purple are bad
books, that they should be read only by girls or that some boys might
not love them, too. But imagine how motivated you would be to read as
an adult if you were told that before you could read anything else
that appealed to you, you first had to read the
books your spouse likes."

But, finally:

http://www.thenation.com/article/girls-against-boys?page=full (from
2006)

Excerpts:

"Other pundits--Michael Gurian, Kate O'Beirne, Christina Hoff Sommers--
blame the culture of elementary school and high school: too many
female teachers, too much sitting quietly, not enough sports and a
feminist-friendly curriculum that forces boys to read--oh no!--books
by women. Worse--books ABOUT women.

"For the record, in middle school my daughter was assigned exactly one
book by a woman: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. In
high school she read three, Mrs. Dalloway, Beloved and Uncle Tom's
Cabin, while required reading included male authors from Shakespeare
and Fitzgerald and Sophocles to (I kid you not) James Michener and
Richard Adams, author of Watership Down. Four books in seven years: Is
that what we're arguing about here? Furthermore, I don't know where
those pundits went to school, but education has always involved a lot
of sitting, a lot of organizing, a lot of deadlines and a lot of work
you didn't necessarily feel like doing. It's always been heavily
verbal--in fact, today's textbooks are unbelievably dumbed down and
visually hyped compared with fifty years ago. Conservatives talk as if
boys should be taught in some kind of cross between boot camp and
Treasure Island--but what kind of preparation for modern life would
that be? As for the decline of gym and teams and band--activities that
keep academically struggling kids, especially boys, coming to school--
whose idea was it to cut those 'frills' in the first place if not
conservatives?"


Lenona.



From: Welches on

"enigma" <enigma(a)evil.net> wrote in message
news:Xns9D9ACC20FA0B5enigmaevilnet(a)199.125.85.9...
> Lenona <lenona321(a)yahoo.com> wrote in
> news:1ce219e1-ef30-413e-aa81-4c8fb60f641d(a)i31g2000yqm.googlegroups.
> com:
>
>>
>> Forgot to say something that is obvious to many, but not all.
>> Namely, what really matters in getting boys to read is having
>> the FATHER do a lot of the reading aloud when the boy is very
>> young. Or some other male relative or family friend. The reason
>> for this is that boys who are read to only by mothers and female
>> teachers find it too easy to conclude that reading is for girls
>> and that it's unfair to expect boys to enjoy reading to
>> themselves. This can get aggravated if the boy's male classmates
>> tell him the same thing.
>
> seriously? my son is going to be 10, just finished 4th grade reading
> on an 11-12th grade level. he doesn't like having his dad read to him
> (although when we were transitioning him from sleeping in our bed to
> his own room at age 3, daddy put him to bed & read to him for about 2
> years). i read to him every night. then he reads for an hour or more.
> he reads during the day when other kids might watch tv or play video
> games (he *hates* video games because his friends are too busy
> playing their Wii to come out to play with him). it never occured to
> him that reading might be "girly" because reading is fun &
> interesting.
> this: "The reason
>> for this is that boys who are read to only by mothers and female
>> teachers find it too easy to conclude that reading is for girls
>> and that it's unfair to expect boys to enjoy reading to
>> themselves."
> is a load of bull. it sounds like some wacko reasoning by an adult,
> not how a child thinks at all.
LOL. Dh did most of the bedtime reading to my girls. Does that mean that
they think reading is a boy hobby?
Debbie