Make Reading Cool For Boys

There comes an age at which boys today seem to decide that books and reading are not ‘cool enough’ and even the most enthusiastic reader may just switch off completely – with all the implications that go with that. I’ve seen this myself, both with my own son, but also with many other boys. Somehow, the perception is that books and magazines (or even online text, e-books etc) can’t compete with the ultra-stimulation of games, video and other choices for how time is spent.

In my son’s experience one of the issues was that he moved very quickly through all the good quality reading material that appealed to him, but by the time he reached around age 13 there was very little left that attracted him. How many times can you read the same Harry Potter books over and over again? As a parent, to watch someone who was streets ahead of his peers at a skill as valuable as reading then basically spinning his wheels as they all slowly caught him up – an advantage turned in to nothing special.

Here’s an interesting article that explores ways that can be tried to get boys to want to engage with reading:

Early to Rise – How To Get Boys To Read
(Click on the link to read the article. Incidentally, the Early to Rise newsletter emails are well worth signing up for – I’ve been reading them for quite a few years and they’re amongst the best around)

It tends to be the case that the vast majority of school libraries have female librarians. I think, at times, they need to have a greater variety of approaches if they are to make libraries and reading appeal to the boys. I agree very strongly with the article that we need a much broader acceptability of what kids are reading and to meet boys’ needs with material that they find stimulating and will want to read. It doesn’t pay to get too judgmental about what they choose to read!

Finally, I think the article’s spot on – if there’s cool status associated with reading, then there’s a much better chance that more boys will stay with it – with all the benefits that flow out of that. I know how much reading has benefited my life. I cannot ever envisage being anything other than a reader. But, I also know that’s no great advert to a 14 year old boy! However, meeting them where they are, we can do a much better job for them.

Seatbelts not Cool?

There are things in this world that threaten us that we can’t really control. There are other things that threaten us that can be limited in their potential impact by the choices we make. Like the choice to ensure that we and the people we care about wear seatbelts.

The following video is shocking. However, when you have known people who have had this kind of experience you understand why it is shocking. I share it here because i care about the people in the Shri Ram community and want them to be empowered to make choices that protect them.

If you thought that was shocking and have now resolved that in future you will wear a seatbelt when travelling in the front of a car, the following video is, in some ways, stronger. It shows the tragic effects of not wearing belts in the back of a car. And …. think about it, everyone now buys cars with rear seatbelts fitted, but when did you last put it on?

Made you think?

I really hope so. Because I long for a day when the person who won’t put their belt on is called ‘uncool’.

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