Friday, July 15, 2016

Guys Read Too

Both research and anecdotes  (including my own) say that boys can be hesitant readers.  Since my first year as a teacher, I have tried to adopt a policy to both teach reading and foster reading.  By this, I mean:  I tried to develop reading skills and strategies, but also focused on putting books into the student’s hands, giving plenty of time for reading during the school day, and having lots of conversations and interactions with students about books and reading.  I have made mistakes teaching, no doubt.  But, I had some success in fostering readers in my classroom.  I still remember one parent who pulled me aside to ask about a popular series of books.  She had explained that her son never seemed that interested in books, but recently had been asking to go to the library and even asked for books as a Christmas gift.   Can you imagine what a gift this child had already gotten, the gift of enjoying reading?

Over the years I have had boys who wouldn’t open a book, finish reading a book, choose a book in the library, or show any interest in independent reading.  I mean, I get it; there are so many other interests in boys’ minds, right?  Playing sports, collecting things, drawing, playing video games, building forts, running around getting dirty, and just plain having fun, right?  But, all it takes is getting lost in one or two great books to hook a child (even a boy) into reading. I strongly believe there is a book for every reader.  There are probably a thousand books for every reader to be more exact.  But, this is all about matching a boy’s interest to a good book.  Need help finding the right book?   There are tons of for parents, boys,  and teens.  Librarians, teachers, and other readers will guide readers.  There are even countless book blogs that can guide a parent, teen, or middle age reader to wonderful books.  

Don’t limit reading for boys to traditional novels.  Boys enjoy non-fiction, reading in chunks to gain information.  They also might enjoy graphic novels which offer strong, well developed characters, and graphic elements that sometimes mimic video games and movies.  Other times, boys are into fiction which is strongly tied to their hobbies.  Sports, video games, music, science fiction, movie and television adaptations are all popular choices for boys.  Here are some popular books for teen guy readers.  The list is mixed with both newer books and older books that offer classic stories.  In addition to these books, check your non-fiction sections often to match interests.  Just remember, don’t focus on finishing non-fiction texts, let guy readers explore and read in chunks that interest them the most.
A Few Teen Guys Book Suggestions:

  • Forged By Fire by Sharon M. Draper
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • Gym Candy by Carl Deuker
  • Fight Club: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson
  • Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by Buzz Bissinger
  • Running with Scissors: A Memoir  by Augusten Burroughs
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Slam! by Walter Dean Myers
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • Bang! by Sharon Flake
  • The Catcher in the Rye  by J. D. Salinger
  • Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica
  • The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Emergent Reader Book Choices

Emergent readers are in that magic stage in reading development when all of the experiences with books, all of the practice singing the alphabet, all of the exposure to words, and the introduction of phonics skill finally come together.  Emergent readers are early readers with basic print knowledge, some site words, and some phonics skills.  Most children are entering into the emergent reader stage in Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade.  I remember reading my early phonics readers.  Typically emergent reader books will be very decodable.  That means the words might be from a select word family or may follow an easy rhyme pattern.  In addition, emergent reader books will have very close print and illustration connections. Readers will be able to tell the stories via both simple text and pictures. 

All this to say: my Lil Guy is solidly in the emergent reader stage.  Some of the  This is more than just remembering a story or a few words to a story.  Cold reading an emergent reader text is a sign.  Being able to chunk words or use phonics skills to sound out longer unknown words is also a sign.  Remember that emergent readers are not independent readers by any means is important.  These readers will still need plenty of support.  My Lil Guy needs reminders to read every word on a page and is still learning some letter combinations: sh, th, ng, etc.
signs are reading and recognizing words within text.

Choosing appropriate books for emergent readers is crucial.  Great emergent reader book engage readers.  The text needs to be accessible for the reader, but can still require a bit of support.  Also the illustrations need to engage the reader and give picture clues for the readers.  Many emergent reader books will have reading levels listed.  Even early emergent readers will enjoy these books because of the predictable text patterns and easy to follow picture clues. 

Here are some emergent reader series:

I Can Read Series from Harper Collins Publishers.  These books are very popular and inexpensive.  The stories often have recurring characters and also include non-fiction books.  This particular series also features popular storybook characters such as Pete the Cat and Pinkalicious.  Look for “My First” and Level 1 books in this series for emergent readers.

Step Into Reading from Random House Publishers.  Again, these books are very popular and are found on the shelves at Wal-Mart and Target.  Some of the popular series in these books are Sesame Street, Disney Characters, and Barbie.  While those characters might not thrill parents there are other very engaging emergent reader books.  Lil Guy’s first book he read by himself was Hot Dog.  It’s still one of his favorites to read during storytime!  Look for Level 1 books in this series for emergent readers.

Ready to Read from Simon & Schuster Publishers.  These books showcase some of the same movie and cartoon characters, but also offer children’s favorite authors within the Emergent Reader books.  Eric Carle and Cynthia Rylant have books from Ready to Read.  Olivia is also featured as a series for emergent readers.  Look for Pre-Level 1 and Level 1 books.

One of our favorite book series lately has been I Like to Read by Holiday House Publishers.  These books we have borrowed from the library in hardback.  They tell simple but interesting stories.  I’ve seen some comments that the stories don’t feel complete, but my Lil Guy’s imagination fills in the details as he reads.  All of the I Like to Read series books fall solidly into the Emergent Reader level.  Here are a few of our favorites in the series.

So, What are YOUR favorite Emergent Reader books?  What activities do you do with YOUR Emergent Readers at home or at school?  Do you have suggestions for Lil Guy and me?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Books I've Read Lately!

Books I've Read Lately