Every year for the past 30 years, in every age group, boys have scored lower than girls on U.S. Department of Education reading tests.
Why? Maybe most of the children's literature out there appeals more to girls than boys. Maybe active little boy bodies and minds have trouble sitting still long enough to enjoy a book. Maybe kids see Mom heading off to book groups once a month but not Dad.
Children's author Jon Scieszka, who's written more than 20 books with a real “guy” sensibility - think action, irreverence, getting dirty, a sprinkling of math and science, and judicious use of “stinky” and “stupid” - is out to change that. His Guys Read program (GuysRead.org) encourages boys to browse for reading suggestions, make their own, and get involved in book groups across the country. In Hennepin County alone this summer, 17 libraries hosted 21 book clubs involving more than 400 boys.
Scieszka's new book, Guys Write for Guys Read is a guy-oriented anthology with pieces by Mo Willems, Chris Van Allsburg, Matt Groening, Neil Gaiman, and others.