Focus of Interview:
- At What level is the biggest concern?
- What would you say is your most popular book?
- What inspired you to Write Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys?
- What advice would you give parents?
- What are 3 or 4 things a teacher can do with struggling readers?
- What advice do you have for librarians?
Transcript of the Interview
- Title: Jeff Wilhelm Interview
- Length: 17:18 minutes (5.94 MB)
- Format: MP3 Stereo 22kHz 48Kbps (CBR)
Question 1: Tell us about your background and how it influenced you with boys and literacy
- Reading as a kid
- Challenges as a teacher
- The need for kids to become engaged
- Dissertation on kids struggling with reading, led to You Gotta Be the Book
- Facts across the world about boys underachieving girls
- That study with his colleague, Michael Smith led to another book, Going With the Flow
Question 2: At What level is the biggest concern?
- Study of 18,000 kids by McKenna; 90% felt they were a reader until 5th or 6th grade
- Lost sense that they were readers
- His theory based off of his study
Question 3: What would you say is your most popular book?
- Improving Comprehension With Think Alouds – 125,000 copies sold
- You Gotta Be the Book – 50,000 copies sold
- Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys – 40,000 copies sold
Question 4: What inspired you to Write Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys
- Working with kids in the classroom and seeing what they struggle with
- Listening to kids and their concerns
- Boys are not typically engaged in literacy
- Many kids labeled LD are boys
- He looked at the data. It was compelling al over the world
- His questions as a teacher – Why and What can you do about it? •
- 5 years of planning and studying 52 boys
Question 5: What advice would you give parents?
- People read for a purpose – to do work, to get things done, to do something, go somewhere, etc..
- Important to tap into kids pre existing interests
- Parents should have books available at home
- Read aloud to your kids
- Example – talk with them at breakfast about newspaper
- Kids seek relationships. Make reading about a shared interest
- Have a wider view of reading
- Discuss what reading can do for them
Question 6: What are 3 or 4 things a teacher can do with struggling readers?
- Make your teaching matter – boys want to learn about significant things to them
- Make reading help them with their lives
- Don’t assign work that you wouldn’t want to do
- Help kids through the challenges. Give them the support they need. Make sure they know you will help them be successful
- Do meaningful projects around reading
- The most important thing is to organize reading around meaningful inquiry. His book, Engaging Readrs and Writers with Inquiry explore those concepts
- Inquiry based reading helps kids retain the information years later
Question 7: What advice do you have for librarians?
- Absolute crime every school doesn’t have a full time librarian
- Greatest supporter of literacy, greatest resource for teachers
- Schools should be based off of libraries – engaged in research
- The librarian is a “Super Teacher” in any school
- Advice – Keep on Keeping On, keep talking about the issues, support each other, give voice to the kids, keep issues abouyt the library in play at the school board level,
- “Librarians have to be like the Lorax, otherwise, nobody is speaking for the trees”
- Always focus on what is best for kids!