Monday, March 10, 2003

Getting guys to read

What does it take to make boys better readers? Maybe a little less "Little Women" and a little more "Captain Underpants." That's the assumption behind Guys Read, a Web site and literacy program developed by "The Stinky Cheese Man" author Jon Scieszka "to help boys become better readers, better students, better guys." On the theory that lads lag in literacy at least in part because female teachers are picking the reading material and it's just not gross enough, "Guys Read" offers lists of good guy reads and a discussion group for boy-book banter.

Now in my house, the girl's the one who doesn't like reading; at least until this year, when my daughter's feeling for reading went from "hate" to "sorta like sometimes," my son was always way more willing to sit down with a book than his sister. But there may be something to this book selection thing: When I mentioned to my husband that I really wanted to read "Sarah, Plain and Tall" with my boy, his dad gave me that look -- the look I usually get when I suggest, say, watching a movie starring Hugh Grant -- and said, "Why would he want to read THAT?" I'll have to point out to him that "Guys Read" strongly suggests that fathers make the time to read with their sons. Perhaps they can bond over "The Stupids Die" by Henry Allard, one of the site's recommended reads. Sounds like about as much fun as watching the Three Stooges.

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