Three Books To Read Right Now

Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It,  Kelly Gallagher (2009)
A beautifully clear and concise overview of why kids are not reading. Written by a seriously dedicated high school English teacher. A very positive call to action. The title says it all.

Why Boys Fail; Saving Our Sons from and Educational System That’s Leaving Them Behind, Richard Whitmire  (2009)
This is why we need reporters. An invaluable history of how we got where we are today. An unbiased look at what is and isn’t working in schools. Plenty of real stories and real journalism.

The Trouble With Boys: A Suprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do, Peg Tyre  (2008)
The other great book on this subject by another talented education reporter. The real facts, deeply thoughtful analysis, and practical ideas for moving forward.

Specifically About Boys and Reading (and Writing)

Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men, Michael W. Smith and Jeffrey Wilhelm (2002)
One of the first books to seriously study boys and their reading preferences and habits. Fantastic first-person interviews with middle and high school guys.

Differently Literate; Boys, Girls, and the Schooling of Literacy, Elaine Millard (1997)
Theory and practice and a stunning ability to look at literacy education in a whole new way. Incredibly smart. We should all be using her non-judgemental term, “literacy differences” in talking about gender and reading.

Connecting Boys with Books; What Libraries Can Do, Michael Sullivan (2003)
Just as the title promises — lots of book titles and descriptions, plenty of library activities. Hard-won wisdom from a librarian and educator.

Best Books for Boys; A Resource for Educators, Matthew D. Zbaracki (2008)
A brief explanation of what is going on with boys and reading. And then the answer to how to get boys reading — hundreds of books categorized, described, and ISBNed. A fantastic and fun resource.

To Be A Boy, To Be A Reader; Engaging Teen and Preteen Boys in Active Literacy, William G. Brozo (2002)
A cool combination of research, theory, psychology, and plenty of classroom experience provide the basis for ideas on how to connect reading with unique male imagination.

Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices, Ralph Fletcher (2006)
Topic choice, topic choice, topic choice. Why it is so important, and why it’s okay. How to understand boys and their world, and how to connect with them. Thoughtful. Practical. Wonderful.

The Bigger Question of Boys and Learning/Culture

Misreading Masculinity; Boys, Literacy, and Popular Culture, Thomas Newkirk (2002)
A great eye-opening book about boys and popular culture. How to stop blaming media and start embracing it to promote literacy.

Everything Bad is Good For You; How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, Steven Johnson (2005)
It’s okay to watch TV. Really. It’s not going to rot your mind. And it might actually pose new cognitive challenges. But don’t sit too close. Just kidding (sorry, Mom).

The Psychologist/Therapist Take on Boys

The Wonder of Boys (1996)
The Minds of Boys
The Purpose of Boys
Boys and Girls Learn Differently! (
Michael Gurian

Lots of social philosophy and science about the learning differences of the male and female brain. Plenty of good programs and teaching to come out of this, but it’s worth noting Peg Tyre’s (The Trouble With Boys) concern that real neuroscientists are very wary of endorsing brain-based gender-specific instruction.

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson (2000)
Boys emotional development and emotional literacy and how to help both.

Nation’s Report Card
National scores on tests, tests, and more tests. Gender Task Force
An examination of gender equity in schools acknowledging that boys and girls may need different supports to achieve the same level of achievement.  Solid, practical recommendations.

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