This is a sequel to my Boys DO Read post of earlier this year in which I shared a picture of one of my nephews reading. No picture this time but maybe I can paint you one.
I was hanging at one of my sib’s house with the boy, one of my youngest, and one of the most difficult to draw in to anything like books and stillness, unless there is gaming involved. I was bored and so I picked up a book, a children’s picture book that was lying on a shelf. The inscription said that it was a birthday gift from another of his aunts.
Sidebar: I’m assured that he’s read the copies of my books that I’ve gifted him but I’ve seen no evidence of that to date (lol).
I started flipping through it (Gerald McDermott’s Zomo the Rabbit: a Trickster Tale from West Africa) and reading it out loud, force of habit probably from all of the children’s picture books I’ve had to read out loud over the years between my own kids and the volunteer reading with the Cushion Club Reading Club for Children and at schools, plus, more recently, public readings of my own picture books.
Next thing I know, the boy had turned off the video game and eased up next to me where he sat listening (I could feel him listening if you can feel such a thing) as I continued reading. I tried not to do anything to spook him – just kept reading, which was easy because I was interested in seeing how the book would turn out. It was a fun Anansi-ish, if somewhat predictable read – hard for children’s picture books not to be (part of my mind, the writerly part, noticing its use of the rule of threes and other craft issues; the aunt part squeeing that I’d got the boy to sit still for the duration of a book without asking).
The other boy, as he sets off on his summer adventure, volunteered that he wants to keep a journal to record his experience – one that he can lock from prying eyes.
The moral of the story – there is hope and any child, boy or girl, can and will read (and maybe even write); you just have to find the in.
Peep back at the original Boys DO read post for tips how. Some seen in this post include modelling (letting them see you read), reading with them (even better when they either draw to you or bring the book to you), making it fun (just the act of reading aloud in a way that captured my genuine interest in the story captured his interest – I fell in to the habit with the Cushion Club and many re-readings of Rapunzel with one of my older girls who always insisted I “read it again, Auntie Joanne” ). Others, like talking with them about what they’ve read (I didn’t want to push it and make it feel like school so I left well enough alone), taking them to reading clubs, creative arts camp, the library or bookshop (which I’ve done to varying degree with my others over the years from my auntie lane), or setting reading goals, and never never ever using reading as punishment are other things we should all be doing more. See more at the original post and remember Boys DO read.
(That’s not me; that’s author Joy Lawrence, years ago with some of the children from the Cushion Club. I picked this picture because the third bookish-boys thing that happened to me this week was participating in a post-graduation ceremony for one of the boys pictured. Actually saw two of the boys pictured at that ritual and boy are they grown. I remember them as two of the most vibrant and enthusiastic Clubbers back then. Hard to believe they’re so grown! I refer to the post-graduation ceremony as something of a ritual because it did feel like a bit of coming of age ritual, as I was invited as one of the adults in this boy’s life having read to/with him and others over many Saturdays during my years as a volunteer reader with the club, to give him some Words (capital W) as he closed one chapter in his life and prepared for another. I only had to remember the little boy I knew to know what to tell the young man standing before me and family gathered for that purpose – and, though the only non-family there, I felt a real connection born of those Saturdays with books, because reading forges connections…and Boys DO Read).
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved.