December 4, 2008


Thanks, Tricia.  I forgot my caffeine this morning, so you're post did the job for me.  That article about boys not reading?  Ugh.  What terrible pap.  I clicked on your link to the entire article to see who had written such silliness and found that she might actually be able to write.  I haven't read any of these, but they look interesting.  I'm thinking, however, that she should just stick to fiction.

Here's how she opens her article: "If you think this is one of those scholarly articles packed with facts and percentiles and references to government studies, stop reading. This piece is full of anecdotes and opinions."

At least she gives you fair warning that this is not relevant in any way.  Then she piles on the stereotypes:

"Men don’t read—instead, they do. For instance, men don’t read books about hunting, they hunt. They don’t devour novels about race-car driving; they go to drag races—and often take along their sons. For many boys, reading becomes a chore that prevents them from pursuing manly things, like playing sports, fishing, rock climbing, and, later, chasing girls."


You've just got to be kidding me.  Maybe the author, since she writes female-based YA thrillers can't see past her mostly female-based readership out into the wider world of readers in general.  Readers of all ages.  Readers of both sexes.  Scroll down any kids bestseller list right now.  Once you get past those girly vampire novels there's all that Jeff Kinney and Rick Riordan and Gordon Korman.  But I'll stop there.  I don't want this rant getting too packed with those pesky "facts."


SAH said...

Gail Giles is a fabulous writer, and her books have male main characters. (Full disclosure--she blurbed my book.)I think her books appeal to male and female readers.

I wish I knew why boys don't read near as much as girls. Maybe it is because tons more books are published for girls. I know I was told I was shooting myself in the foot by writing a boy book. But I keep doing it.

My oldest son has always been a reader. My youngest son wasn't until his 9th grade Language Arts teacher inspired him by reading aloud in class. (A male)

Mainly wanted to comment to say hello. I've been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now. I love discussion of topics like this.

Teacherninja said...

Well I thank you for the comment and welcome SAH. Her books do look interesting and I'm sure they have wide appeal, that's one of the reasons I was so surprised to see such a narrow view of men and boys as readers. My wife taught some undergraduate courses and had the students, most but not all women, write their reading biographies. Almost all were young readers, then drifted away from it in middle and HS, and were only coming back to it (for pleasure) at the time they were writing--some of them only because of the class. But to speculate that it applied to all girls would have been absurd.

I was at a John Green event a few weeks back and while most of the crowd was HS girls, there were many HS, college and adult males as well. I just don't think essays like hers do anything but enforce stereotypes.

Thanks again.

Tricia said...

Happy to jumpstart your day anytime!

My view on this is that the real recipe for making readers is matching a kid with the perfect book. This is not an easy task, and it requires that teachers know their kids well and know books. This is where a good partnership between classroom teachers and librarians can put the right books in kids' hands.

kiri8 said...

So far not a problem at my house.

11 year old son reads the sports page every morning, some comic books every afternoon, and a novel at bedtime. (Recently read the first Pendragon book, currently working on "Twilight" and "Speaker for the Dead.")

8 year old son reads even more, all comic books. Morning, noon and night, he is reading.

But...they see their dad reading, too. He's really into the daily and Sunday papers, and reads magazines like Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly....and then big hefty history books on vacation or at basketball practice. So I think he sets a good example for our sons.

Teacherninja said...

@Trish: I totally agree and that's one of my favorite challenges.

@kiri8: Sounds awesome!

And I just want to say that my dad and brother aren't big readers in the way I am and they are perfectly wonderful people. They do read the news and magazines and books of interest, but it's not the passion it is with me. And I know women this is true for as well, so I guess that's one of the reasons Giles' over-generalizing comments rubbed me the wrong way. Thanks.