When I began writing action-adventures and mysteries for boys, about five years ago, I’d like to say that I was fully informed about the road ahead. I wasn’t that smart. What I did know, based on my research of a couple hundred books for my target age group, 8 – 13, was that I didn’t find much material that would have interested me when I was that age.
This had been the problem, I believe, that led me to avoid reading whenever possible. It was only after I had written several manuscripts, and a couple of the books had been published, that I became better informed.
I found that boys tend to be a bit behind the girls in areas of reading and math. As I spoke in schools, and asked if there was anyone who didn’t like to read, many of the boys’ hands went up. When I asked why, they gave pretty consistent answers, no matter where I went.
Then, very recently, I learned a new term. Again, this has become somewhat controversial, but here it is anyway: The Feminization of Education. The first person to tell me this term was Dr. Ray Moore. He heads an organization called Exodus Mandate. The mission is to inform parents so that they will remove their students from public schools and place them in private, Christian, or homeschools. You can find more information about Exodus Mandate at: http://www.exodusmandate.org/
I began to do a little research, and uncovered the following web sites. While I don’t personally stand behind any one of them, I found the information extremely interesting, as it relates to why boys have difficulty in finding reading enjoyable.
Business Week - The New Gender Gap
ABC - Can Boys Really Not Sit Still in School? http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=1545271
Supporting Our Sons http://www.supportingoursons.org/index.html
Teaching Our Boys http://www.aw.org/s_cross/p_nielsen/TeachingourBoys.htm
Learning About Educating Boys Better http://www.csbl.org/Articles/learningabouteducatingboys.htm
Stop Feminizing our Schools - Our Boys Are Suffering http://infowars.net/articles/february2007/010207feminising.htm
Illinois Loop - Gender Bias http://www.illinoisloop.org/gender.html
LEARN NC - Reading is for the Boys (and Girls) http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/boysread0602-1
These sites provide eye-opening statistics, and real world, classroom examples. No wonder boys don’t like to read, most of them would rather be outside playing instead of sentenced to sit at their desks and “behave.”
The more I am able to get my message out about how my books address some of the problems, concerning the lack of interest, on the part of boys, in reading, the more I see doors opening.