December 10, 2005

Guys Read

Jon Scieszka grew up with five brothers. He taught elementary school for 10 years, raised a daughter and son, and has written books for kids for the last 15 years. Out of his passion to get boys to read, he has created Guys Read.

Jon notes that "A lot of boys are having trouble reading," and lists the following data as testimony:

• The U.S. Department of Education reading tests for the last 30 years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.
• Eighth grade boys are 50 percent more likely to be held back than girls.
• Two-thirds of Special Education Students in high school are boys.
• Overall college enrollment is higher for girls than boys.

That's why his mission is to: . . . motivate boys to read by connecting them with materials they will want to read.

Jon's website is a great way to accomplish that goal. His site is very boy oriented, fun, and useable. He provides a list of recommended books for Young Guys, Middle Guys, and Older Guys, and a search engine that allows searches by favorite book, favorite author, or simply a subject or topic. If you know a young guy (or not so young... Jon has an adult section too), point him at this site and see what happens.

Part of Jon's mission is to "Make some noise for boys." He says, "We have literacy programs for adults and families. GUYS READ is our chance to call attention to boys’ literacy." Just in case you want to join him in this cause, he'll give you permission to use his site and will equip you with a Guys Read poster, stickers for recommended books, and bookmarks. Very nice.

Oh, by the way, in addition to being an extremely creative approach to a huge problem, Jon is also a great role model for any man who has experience with a hobby or interest and is considering reaching out to boys. What if every adult man did something similar to help boys?

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