Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2006-02-07

Boys & Books

A keen interest of mine, as I live with a former boy, and many, many books. Many of you have probably read Reading Don't Fix No Chevys, by Michael W. Smith and Jeffrey Wilhelm, or are devotees of Jon Scieszka's excellent Guys Read initiative. A recent article in The New Republic (NB: registration required) covers much of the same ground -- boys don't have enough male reading role models, boys' literacy rates fall when they reach middle school, boys are expected to conform to very female modes of reading and literary analysis -- but it also contains this lovely nugget of a strategy presently employed in Maryland's public schools:

Here's part of the [Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy] Grasmick plan: Take existing comic books and graphic novels deemed to cover academic
disciplines and sprinkle them around classrooms. Let the boys believe they're
pulling a fast one on the teachers by grabbing a quick read. Sounds bizarre, but
it's based on good hunches: Boys who become successful readers in high school
often attribute that success to making a transition from comic books to school
books in late elementary school. Why not offer curriculum-as-comic books? It
just might work. It also might not. But at least Maryland is trying, which is
better than most states.

How refreshing and commonsensical is that? Go, Maryland!

Article via the latest YPulse Essentials.

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