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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets’ children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Boys and books

February 4, 2011

A friend of mine (the assistant director of a premier early childhood program) and I were talking about the key role of books in the schools and the way literature stimulates not only a child's interest in reading but also the family's interest. Books are used to connect children, parents, and the school.

My friend is also the mother of two adult children, both successful young men who attended this very same topnotch program. She told me that even though they both read, one still reads voraciously for pleasure as much as for information, the other reads chiefly as a necessity.

I recently received a link to an article about a Utah library program promoting reading for boys which made me wonder if indeed gender may play a more significant role in boys' reading.

There certainly is a lot of concern about boys and books. Michael Gurian furthers the argument that boys learn differently and at a different pace than girls in The Minds of Boys (Jossey-Bass).

Children's author Jon Scieszka has devoted Guys Read to making boys lifelong readers and learners, much like the Salt Lake City library program. Both recommend boy-themed reading which includes various formats and topics (often the gross and icky).

Maybe my friend's one son might have benefited from the boy-centric reading. Maybe, maybe not.

One thing remains certain, however — that adults should try to respond to a child's interests as they share and show the pleasure in reading of all types.


Is there any research done on the gender profile of young readers who read 'Harry Potter' and 'Lord of Rings' genre of books?

Fathers and father figures can make a big difference if they model reading and read with their sons (and daughters!) - author James Preller has a great new blog on this important connection.

At our school library the "World Record" books fly off the shelf! Mostly boys, but some girls keep them checked out.

At our school library the "World Record" books fly off the shelf! Mostly boys, but some girls keep them checked out.

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"Reading is not optional." —

Walter Dean Myers