Boys, boys boys. I love them! As a librarian, they are my biggest challenge. Boys don't check out as many books as the girls- and they just don't seem to have the passion for books that girls do. The statistics speak volumes: boy readers lag behind their female counterparts. According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study in 2001, 4th girls in all of the 30+ participating countries scored higher in reading literacy than 4th grade boys. Similar findings show up in the U.S. National Assessment of Educational Progress scores.
"Why", you ask? Theories abound. According to Michael W. Smith and Jeffrey D. Wilhelm in Reading Don't Fix No Chevys ( 2002), research on gender differences and literacy provide some interesting findings:
- Boys take longer to learn to read than girls do
- Boys read less than girls read
- Boys value reading as an activity less than girls do
According to a national survey conducted by the Young Adult Library Services Association in 2001, boys of an average age of 14 listed their top obstacles to reading:
- boring/no fun 39.3%
- no time/too busy 29.8%
- like other activities better 11.1%
- can't get into the stories 7.7%
- I'm not good at it 4.3%
What is the key to changing this trend? Provide boys with GREAT (and I mean GREAT) books! Provide them with a variety of books and encourage them to read! If you value reading, they will too. Talk with boys about books- ask them to tell you about what they are reading. Turn off the tv and the video game system and make them read! (easier said than done, I know! My husband would rather play XBox 360 than read... unless it is a video game magazine!)
So, here are my top 10 books for little guys and my top 10 books for big guys. I hope you can find something for the guy in your life. And, I have made a fierce display of boy only books in the Lemme Library (yes, girls can read them too!)
Left on their own for an evening, two boisterous brothers find more excitement than they bargained for in a mysterious and mystical space adventure board game.
Dinosaur Roar! by Paul & Henrietta Sticklan E STI
Rhyming text and fun illustrations present all kinds of dinosaurs!
Arrowhawk by Lola Schaefer E SCH
Based on the true story of a bird of prey's survival after being struck by a poacher's arrow.
Bubble Bath Pirates by Jarret Krosoczka E KRO
When pirate mommy announces bath time, it is yo ho ho and to the bath we go for her little pirates.
Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems E WIL
Regardless of all his efforts, Leonardo the monster simply cannot seem to frighten anyone, until he meets the perfect nervous little boy.
Karate Hour by Carol Nevius E NEV
Rhyming text portrays the excitement of an hour of karate class.
Clay Boy by Mirra Ginsburg 398.2 GIN
Wanting a son, an old man and woman make a clay boy who comes to life and begins eating everything in sight until he meets a clever goat.
Puss in Cowboy Boots by Jan Huling 398.2 HUL
Set in Texas, a retelling of the fairy tale in which a clever cat wins for his master a fortune and a wealthy and talented bride.
Hi Fly Guy by Jim Arnosky ER ARN
When Buzz captures a fly to enter in The Amazing Pet Show, his parents and the judges tell him that a fly cannot be a pet, but Fly Guy proves them wrong.
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long E LON
Jeremy Jacob joins Braid Beard and his pirate crew and finds out about pirate language, pirate manners, and other aspects of their life.
When wealthy, spoiled, thirteen-year-old Tad Spencer wishes he were someone else, he awakens as Bob Snarby, the uncouth, impoverished son of carnival workers, and as he is drawn into a life of crime he begins to discover truths about himself and his family.
Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has no parents to offer them proof.
Things get out of hand for a twelve-year-old boy when a neighbor convinces him to expand his summer lawn mowing business.
Afraid of getting maimed for making fun of Brick, the husky new kid in his fifth-grade class, Nick decides that even his baseball collection will not protect him so he signs up for karate class, despite his little brother's reassurances that Brick is not a bully.
Alone in the frontier wilderness in the winter of 1839 while his father is recovering from an injury, eleven-year-old Nathan runs afoul of the renegade killer known as Weasel and makes a surprising discovery about the concept of revenge.
Summer vacation in their small Maine town does not look too promising until twelve-year-old Gina and four of her friends make a pact to become millionaires before school starts in September.
Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.
As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.
Sixth-grader Tommy and his friends describe their interactions with a paper finger puppet of Yoda, worn by their weird classmate Dwight, as they try to figure out whether or not the puppet can really predict the future. Includes instructions for making Origami Yoda.
Eleven-year-old Eddie gets a chance to win a million dollars by sinking a foul shot at the National Basketball Association finals.