I hate to admit it, but when I was a kid, I didn’t read. It wasn’t that I couldn’t read or hated reading; I just never thought of reading as something that boys did outside of school. The only time I saw guys reading was in a classroom. When we left school, we would play baseball, football, and basketball. We would explore nature by wandering through ravines, building forts, and climbing trees. We would go to Boy Scout meetings, build with LEGOs, and play video games. Reading was never even on my radar. It wasn’t until high school that I started reading for pleasure (John Grisham and Michael Crichton got me hooked during my study hall period in my school’s library), and I haven’t stopped reading since! Looking back on my childhood, I wish I would’ve started reading (outside of school) much sooner!
For this reason, I recently started up a Guys Read Club for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders at my school. If you haven’t heard of Guys Read, it’s a literacy program for boys founded by author Jon Scieszka. The whole purpose of Guys Read is to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers. To accomplish this, we meet monthly to have manly snacks (like peanuts, pretzels, beef jerky, and root beer or sports drinks), share some titles of books that other guys might like, do things that guys like to do (like build with LEGOs and smash things), select and purchase books for a “Guys Only” section of our school library, read a little bit, and pass out a book for each member to take home and keep.
We’re still a relatively new club, but we’re doing all we can to show the kids that reading IS something that guys do outside the classroom… and hopefully they’ll get hooked on reading much sooner than I did.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://theomnibuspublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/Michael-Carton.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Michael Carton is a 1st grade teacher in Rock Island, Illinois. In his free time, he blogs about reading with his son at http://michaelsreadthelibrary.wordpress.com. You can follow him on Twitter, where he is @michaeltcarton. [/author_info] [/author]