Reading & Literacy Opinion

Good Timing for Book on Boys and Reading

By Richard Whitmire — March 18, 2010 1 min read
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Reading expert William Brozo has updated his book, To Be a Boy, To Be a Reader, and it will be available in April. During my book research I leaned on Brozo for advice on reading instruction. There is no reason, he told me, why boys should not catch up with girls in literacy skills by fourth or fifth grades. Except they’re not.

Portions of the press release from the International Reading Association:

New IRA book provides solutions for easing the male-female performance gap NEWARK, DELAWARE, USA--According to a new study from the Center on Educational Policy that analyzed state test scores in reading and math, "the lagging performance by boys in reading is the most pressing gender-gap issue facing our schools." In some states, boys are a full 10 percentage points below that of girls. These statistics reaffirm what noted expert William Brozo has been telling us for years. In his second edition of To Be a Boy, To Be a Reader: Engaging Teen and Preteen Boys in Active Literacy, Brozo sheds light on "the boy crisis" and offers solutions. Weaker literacy skills lead to disengagement, which leads to poor school achievement--which ultimately leads to dropping out. These, however, are only school-related problems; this achievement deficit has far-reaching ripples. Consider these facts: Adolescent boys make up the largest group of dropouts and delinquents, which makes them vulnerable to underemployment and unemployment and, far worse, puts them at a higher risk of becoming criminal offenders. Brozo emphasizes that "engaged readers have a much greater chance of staying in school, expanding career and life options, and maturing into self-actualized adults." The premise is simple--meet boys where they are, then help them get to where they need to be. But the ideas offered in Brozo's book are crucial, providing exactly the framework needed to motivate, inspire, and truly reach boys before it's too late. To Be a Boy, To Be a Reader centers on engaging boys with books that contain positive male archetypes. Readers will get * Full descriptions--with literature examples--of all 10 archetypes * A new chapter that focuses on using alternative texts such as graphic novels and comic books * Fresh ideas for involving parents and community leaders in boys' literacy growth * An expansive, fully updated young adult literature list, organized by the 10 archetypes

The opinions expressed in Why Boys Fail are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.