At my school in the USA I introduced a program that I had also promoted in Australia. It was called “Real Men Read”. Aware of the research that is described in this article in Essential Kids, I had pondered why it was that boys seem to turn off reading. A series of questions pretty much answered it for me.
When do our lifelong habits start to form? When we are very young.
Who most frequently reads the bedtime story or stories throughout the day? Mum.
Who reads the stories at the day care centre? Women.
Who teaches in the first grades of school when children are learning how to read? Mostly women.
So it dawned on me that perhaps boys think reading is really some kind of “secret women’s business” and not really for them.
It was then that I decided to bring men into my school to read books to the kids and to tell them how important reading was to them.
We had policemen, athletes, the mayor, fire fighters, members of the clergy, builders, politicians, school board members, all sorts of men.
It’s eight years since I left that school district and I understand that the program has continued. In fact I was surprised a few years ago to discover that someone was making money out of it. They had turned it into a commercial success, of course with no reference to the person who started it all. Another good educational idea turned for profit!