Just back from a trip to Regina where I did a presentation to 150 teachers about how to get boys to read. A hot topic these days it seems--it has been for awhile! I was glad to share whatever tidbits I've picked up. The audience was great, surprisingly chipper since it was their first day back at work (ugh!). They even survived me playing a bit of Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner as an example of how heavy metal helped influence me to become a reader. No one asked the hear the whole song, though!
One of my suggestions was to get the students into podcasting. Perhaps doing short book reviews that would be released worldwide on the net. My hope would be that boys would be that boys who are into tech stuff would take the time to read a book, just so they could be involved. A good example of this is Casey Tolan, a young reader who does his own podcast book reviews.
A similar idea is to do projects that could be posted to Myspace that somehow involve a book, short story, or comic book. There are, of course, all sorts of costs to putting these things together. But hey, I'm just the idea man.
For those interested in this sort of thing, here's the outline.
1) How I became a reader
2) Getting boys to read
a) Writers on the Wall
b) Guys Write for Guys Read/guysread.com
Discussion of classroom techniques (10-20 minutes)
Break (20 minutes)
3) How boys think
a) Excerpt from John Wilson’s article
b) Fan mail
c) Using examples from literature
Discussion of 6 prose pieces (10-15 minutes)
4) Art’s tips to get boys reading
a) SIBYLs: songs inspired by literature
b) Books based on video games
Discussion of classroom techniques II/Action plan
Links for reading
http://www.arthurslade.com -- my website
http://www.guysread.com -- getting guys reading website
http://talestoldtall.com/boybookblog.html --Blog about boys reading
http://bcwriters.com/wordworks/2004/fall/wilson.php John Wilson on boys reading
http://artistsforliteracy.org/display/famous.php Songs inspired by literature
http://shaker.us.edu/english8 Podcasts used in classroom
http://www.myspace.com/comicbookliteracy Comic books and literacy