Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Galaxy Games: Greg Fishbone on Books for Boys

Greg Fishbone has written a fun, funny middle grade - Galaxy Games - that will appeal to young teen boys, especially boys who aren't ordinarily drawn to reading. As part of his blog tour I was delighted when he offered to write the following post on "books for boys."
Greg is also running a contest as part of his blog tour and here's today's clue:
Puzzle Piece #25 is here:

Books for Boys: What Keeps Them Reading?
I was in a classroom recently where reading-time was used as a reward for students who finished their other work. It was easy to tell which students were the readers in the class: boys and girls who raced through their work for a chance to spend a few extra minutes engaged with a book. A solid majority of the class seemed indifferent and probably would not have been reading if computer activities had been an option instead. Then there were those students who lingered over math assignments so they wouldn't have to crack open a novel; who chose the books from the classroom library with the highest ratio of pictures to words; who acted silly instead of reading; who subverted the process by picking the Guinness Book of World Records instead of a book with a narrative and plot.
These were the reluctant readers and in this particular classroom, they were all boys.
What does it take to engage reluctant readers? Thin books with cartoony cover art. Books with interior illustrations, especially graphic novels. Content that seems subversive. Humor. Science fiction. Sports. Books that tie into Star Wars, superheroes, video games, or other media. Books with boys as main characters. Short chapters. These books will get the boys reading, but I believe there is also a strong need for transitional books that are more challenging and literary while retaining the fun and accessible qualities that reluctant readers enjoy. To keep the boys reading, we need to up the ante.
We need books that continue to appeal to reluctant readers as they gain confidence and become less-reluctant readers. We need books that transition formerly-reluctant readers into almost-enthusiastic readers. We need books that will make today's reluctant readers into parents who model pleasure reading for their own children. 
Getting reluctant readers into books today is a good start, but turning them into life-long readers should be the overriding goal.

Greg R. Fishbone, Author - gfishbone.com - Twitter @tem2
The Challengers - Book #1 in the Galaxy Games Series
Follow the Galaxy Games Blog Tour, all October long!


Aim'ee Teague said...

Great post! I linked this to my blog. Working to add books for boys, myself. :^)

Janet Fox said...

Thanks, Aim'ee! Yes, I think Greg is spot on.