I began to realize the importance of keeping a reading log while working with the students whom I mentor. Often I would show them a book we had read months ago and ask them if they remembered it. Sometimes they would, other times they would tell me we had not read it.
Wouldn't it be great if they were keeping track of their reading on their own, instead of needing me to tell them which books, or how many books they had read?
I love to read – always have since I was a child. Perhaps that's one of the reasons I decided to volunteer as a reading helper to work with children. I wanted to share my passion for reading with children who had not yet discovered theirs.
While reading together with my students is important, demonstrating a positive attitude about reading (and learning) is just as critical to their developing reading habits. As reading role models we are influential and can have a positive impact on boys' attitudes toward reading with just a few positive steps.
How-to topics appeal to boys' desire for practical, concrete and hands-on information. Reading or writing this sub-genre of non-fiction is appropriate for boys of any age group, reading level, or with any interest – sports, science, hobbies, anything!
This might come as a surprise, since we often don't think of boys wanting to talk and socialize, but boys like social activities. Just think of the activities they enjoy the most. Baseball, football, basketball – team sports are the ultimate social activities. Even movies and video games can be perceived as social for boys. When all their friends are playing the latest game or going to see the newest release, boys want to be “in the know” and able to keep up with their friends socially.
On the flip side, books and reading are perceived as anything but social. As a solitary activity, boys sometimes equate reading with being anti-social, a nerd, weird or a loner. We can help change this perception by making reading a social activity for boys, one that they want to share with friends.
I teach at an all boys Catholic school, in Mandaluyong CIty, Philippines. Our combined enrollment for both the grade school and high school is approximately 5,200. Aside from excellent academics, we offer over 34 co-curricular programs including Math, Science, Social Studies, Sports clubs and more. We also have 10 extra-curricular organizations such as the dance club and scouts club. There are two more schools within the vicinity that are all boys. Our school has the largest enrollment, even though our tuition is high.
Part 3 of 3 Part Series – ESL Boy Readers
Culture is important for second language readers. While learning to read in a new language is unfamiliar and awkward for them, reading will feel even more foreign to boys if there is no trace of the world that they know. To help boys who are reading in a second language feel more comfortable reading, we have to reach out to them within their comfort zone.