Reading proficiency is so important that many localities determine their future prison needs by looking at the number of fourth graders who do not score proficient at the end of the year.  Fortunately, most students do not end up in the prison system, but if you or your son have aspirations for him to be a professional, it may be more important for him to read outside of school than to be an athlete with hopes of getting a scholarship to attend college!

The Science Daily website reports in the article “Reading at 16 Linked to Better Job Prospects” the findings of researcher Mark Taylor from the Department of Sociology at Oxford.  Taylor found that the extra-curricular activities of students at age 16 and concluded that no other activities—including sports, visiting museums, going to the movies, etc.—predicted professional careers as much as reading outside school.    He found that it was “the only out-of-school activity for 16-year-olds that is linked to getting a managerial or professional job later in life.”

Many experts agree that getting boys to read more is a challenge because reluctant readers need to read what interests them.  A recent New York Times article, “Boys and Reading – Is There Any Hope? by author Robert Lipsyte spells out some considerations for getting boys to enjoy reading more:

  • Boys seem to prefer nonfiction.
  • Boys need books that cause them to reflect on the kinds of men they may become.

Lipsyte was part of a celebrated author panel of authors whose writing appeal to boys.  They included:

  • Kenneth Oppel, author of Darkwing
  • Walter Dean Myers, author of Monster (Myers, an African American author, writes about urban situations that may appeal to your son.)
  • Chris Crutcher, author of Whale Talk
  • Terry Trueman, author Stuck in Neutral

Parents may want to go to go to the Guys Read website for ideas about books that might appeal to their sons:  http://guysread.com/   Also, the following video featuring two popular authors for boys talk about what might work for your son: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/flash/multimedia/VIDEO_PLAYER/BCVideoEmbed.swf

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