Guys Read Too, Don’t They?

Fam_Lit079How do you get kids to read? Reading was never a problem for me – I always found it to be a very fun and enjoyable activity. It was easy for me to find books that I wanted to read. But what about those kids who can’t find books that are of interest to them? Boys, especially, struggle with this. How can parents find books that their boys will enjoy? As an educator, I’ve been asked this question a lot and this is what I’ve found.

In order to get kids to read, you have to make reading fun for them and find books that hold their attention. I found a couple of great websites containing lists of valuable resources: guysread.com and readkiddoread.com.

Why might boys have trouble with reading? Guysread.com has this to say: “biologically, boys are slower to develop than girls and often struggle with reading and writing skills early on. The action-oriented competitive learning style of many boys works against them when learning to read and write. Many books boys are asked to read don’t appeal to them. They aren’t motivated to want to read. As a society, we teach boys to suppress feelings. Boys aren’t practiced and often don’t feel comfortable exploring the emotions and feelings found in fiction. Boys don’t have enough positive male role models for literacy. Because the majority of adults involved in kids reading are women, boys might not see reading a s a masculine activity.”

There are a few things we need to do to help boys be successful. We need to draw attention to boys’ literacy. GUYS READ is our chance to do that. We need to include humour, comics, graphic novels, magazines, websites, audiobooks and newspapers in school reading and give them a choice about what they read. We need to encourage male role models of literacy. And we also need to be realistic and start small.

Guysread.com contains a list of books on topics such as: cars, trucks, sports, outer space, how to build stuff, robots, boxers, wrestlers, ultimate fighters, scary, action/adventure, animals and explosions, just to name a few. Readkiddoread.com also contains lists of books of various levels and interests. These lists include: great family reads, great picture books, great transitional books, great pageturners and great advanced reads.

If you have trouble finding books for boys, these two websites are a great place to start.

Great Family Traditions

Reunion

Every three years in July, my mom’s side of the family gathers for a family reunion, and we alternate the location between British Columbia and Saskatchewan. This year the reunion will be in Saskatchewan at The Battlefords Provincial Park campground.

My aunts, uncles, and cousins are scattered across every province from BC through to Ontario so it is a long drive for some. Not everyone is going to be able to make the trip this year, but there will still be about 30 of us at the campground!

I look forward to reconnecting with family that I haven’t seen in years. It is important to set aside time to get together – we are so spread out and get so busy in our own lives.

I also look forward to camping, swimming, playing games, singing songs, reminiscing over old photo albums and eating a lot of food together. It is so much fun participating in all the different activities with my extended family. It is a great time to learn new things and to learn about each other.

As I am now an adult myself, I enjoy visiting with my aunts and uncles. I love to hear stories about my grandparents and about my mom when she was a little girl. Learning about my family history and where I came from helps me understand more about who I am today.

Have fun with your family this summer. Ask to hear family stories or share some yourself with those who are younger. Learn about old family traditions and even some old recipes. See how you might incorporate them into your family today so that they are not lost!

Down Time

Downtime3

While getting ready to go on vacation I have been pondering about what kind of down time I want to have. My preference has changed many times over the years.

When I was little, vacation time was a busy time for doing things and going places.

I remember playing licence plate bingo on long car rides. How exciting it was when we saw a licence plate from Florida or some other faraway place! I don’t recall at what age we started playing that game, but it was a great way to identify patterns in letters and to understand that the letters meant the name of a place.

As a teenager, I just wanted to spend my spare time reading or watching TV, even on summer vacation. In my early teens I remember reading novels and then making my mother read them too. I thought sharing the books I could identify with would help her to understand me.

I realize now how patient she was in reading and then talking about those stories with me. Often her interpretation of the story was different than mine, and through our discussion our comprehension grew.

During my young adult life I wanted to spend any down time with my friends while learning all the social contexts of relationships.

Becoming a parent changed my perspective of down time yet again. Instead of leisure time it became any time baby was napping or when the kids were finally in bed for the night. “Down time” was used for finishing chores which were more difficult to do when the little ones were awake.

Now my daughter has left the nest, my husband and I are both working long hours, and down time is often used for unwinding because we are tired. I still enjoy reading each evening, relaxing my mind and continuing to build my knowledge about all kinds of things, people and places.

This vacation it will be interesting to see what we do with our down time. At least it is nice to think we have a choice.