Tuesday, August 29, 2006


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
c) iPods/podcasts
d) YouTube
Discussion of classroom techniques II/Action plan
5) Conclusion

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://web.mac.com/caseytolan/iWeb/Caseytolan/Casey%20Tolan.html Podcaster
http://shaker.us.edu/english8 Podcasts used in classroom
http://www.myspace.com/comicbookliteracy  Comic books and literacy


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blogs/podcast
I featured your latest blog and novel passager on my site
Best of luck


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the tips.I plan to explore your suggested sites right after this.

I am starting a Guys Read at my junior high school later in the month (first session 9/25)and podcasting is one of my main hooks. I also plan to get guest speakers to go with book themes, such as a local sports figure for sports books, a video game designer & books featuring video games, a local radio personality for music books.

I am rescuing the guys from boring, end-of-the-day study hall for this, so that's added incentive.

For those thinking of programming to promote boys' literacy--grant reviewers eat that up. I got $500 for books from a local reading council and $200 for podcasting stuff from a local educational foundation.

Can't wait to get started...

Unknown said...

Glad that people found the talk interesting. I think there's a lot that's untapped in the podcast/blog/youtube world that could actually help readers. It's just whether we're (tech) savvy enough to use it.

Loved urbanhorrors.blogspot.com Good work!

And thanks for the tips about grants and about getting people in to do readings, Michelle.