If you've been reading this blog for any length of time (or had time to go back to previous posts... there aren't many!), you may notice a oft-repeated topic... how to get and keep boys interested in reading. Well, crazy things are happening in library-land! (Cool things happen when you talk to God about not sitting on your butt for fear of failure.) The statistics are there about boys... the research about brain/learning style differences are there. (I'll bore you sometime with the info, I'm sure.) Thankfully, there is evidence of some changes due to the past few years increased awareness (and acceptance) of the difference between boys and girls in reading.
Well, in recent months, we've continued with our daddy and me storytimes, daddy catcher days, collection development (material ordering) and reader's advisory focused on boys and educating grown-ups. But we've stepped it up a notch at the library. In December, I put out a display to collect names of boys interested in a "guys read"/boys only reading group. I was hoping for at least 5-10 boys so I could start a "pilot" group... to date, over 30 boys have signed up. Luckily, as I contacted male teachers in the school district (because I can do the program, but I think it would be that much better to remove even myself from the mix), I have four guys from the elementary level and one from the middle school, so a total of 5 teachers. That means I can have a middle school age group and split the elementary school age kids into two age groups! THREE groups to start. Those will be starting in March.
In addition, we have Eric Wight, author of the awesome prose/comic hybrid (review to come, because they're awesome... starred reviews in Kirkus, the most "wet-blanket" tough of professional review sources librarians use)... coming for a visit at the end of the month. We currently have over 40 kids signed up after the signup was out about a week, and we expect an increase after Eric visits local schools the days leading up to his library visit. We also have two local authors, Josh Berk and Scott Heydt, coming for an older/middle grade audience to do a writing workshop and author visit in April.
And the crazy (awesome) thing is, it's all definitely struck a chord with people... not just me doing something I have an interest in personally. Parents continue to ask me "when are we starting the guys read?", "my son keeps asking me". They sign up for related programs as soon as I explain what it's about. Parents seem relieved and enthusiastic when I share information about boys and reading.
Oh, and the Pennsylvania Library Association Early Learning Best Practice Award my director and I will go to Harrisburg to pick up in April won't be too bad, either!