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Encouraging Boys to Read

2012-07-25

Guys Read is an internet platform that is intended to encourage boys to read. Scientific studies show that boys especially have trouble with reading and are hard to motivate, and that over time, their reading skills can even deteriorate.

Therefore, the aim of this project is to introduce boys to books that will appeal to them and awake their interest. On the one hand, the homepage suggests books, and on the other, children and teenagers also have the opportunity to recommend books that they find exciting. The book recommendations come not only from the managers of the platform, but from teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers and parents as well. All visitors to the site can suggest books that are suitable for boys. The books are sorted by author or book title. Book titles are also sorted according to categories, such as cars, action and adventure or sport.

Guys Read helps boys find books that they like and should encourage them to become readers for life. Each week, Guys Read selects one book of the month, which is separately introduced on the homepage. On the side bar located on each page, there is a man with his own book suggestions. With this approach the project is following its own advice - i.e. creating male role models for reading, which will guide the boys and give them someone to look up to.

The boys are also encouraged to open their own Guys Read Club. There is a “contract” on the homepage for the boys to sign. In this contract they agree, among other things, to tell each other about books that they like, to use new technologies or to provide plenty of good food for meetings. In this way, reading should become a communicative occasion. The fact that their friends also pursue this interest will make reading more attractive. Besides this, they should create a pleasant reading atmosphere for themselves, which makes reading fun.

In the local clubs, which the boys can have entered on an online card, the Guys Read guidelines should be implemented. These say, for example, that there should be a shelf for Guys Read books at home. Furthermore, the boys should speak about reading at school, so that it also gets its focus there.

Guys Read is a project by best-selling author Jon Scieszka who grew up with five brothers. It seems that he is quite familiar with the lack of reading motivation among boys. He was a primary school teacher for a long time, during which he noticed how intelligent children are, and what could be done to promote their interest in reading. In 2008 and 2009 he was also National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for the Young Readers Centre and the Children’s Book Council.


Image: flickr-user Flavio (back for a while...) with a Creative Commons-Licence CC BY 2.0, 25th July 2012.

 
 

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