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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Are boys adrift?

From time to time, I've touched on the issue of boys and education, so I was interested when my neighbor mentioned Diane Rehm's interview with Dr. Leonard Sax.

Sax is author of Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men.

He lists those five factors as:

Video Games
Teaching Methods
Prescription Drugs
Edocrine Disruptors
Devaluation of Masculinity

I'm not sure what to think of all his theories, but I'm interested enough after hearing Diane's program to read his book. Fortunately, my sons have never been medicated. They tend to go in spurts with video games (like now, for instance). I've decided to unplug the Xbox for the remainder of the week, mostly because the weather is cooling off and they need to be outside until school starts on the 27th.

But the reading thing really hits home.

All summer long I've struggled with getting my three boys to read. Ryan has two books he must read by the start of school. I know he'll do it, he's always been an advanced reader, but it makes me sad that he doesn't just pick something up on his own.

Patrick has struggled all along with reading. However, through an incredible intervention program he participated in last school year, he raised his reading level two grade levels. When I got the results, I called the district reading specialist to make sure I was reading the results accurately. She replied:
Mrs. Hoke, Thank you for your phone call. Yes, Patrick’s results are dramatic! Congratulations on his wonderful progress! Let me know if you have any questions.
Michael picked up reading very quickly and with seemingly little effort on my part. But I realize as he starts third grade, I need to spend the time with him, nurturing that love of reading. Not to offer up any excuses, but sometimes as parents we just lose steam.

I'm a big believer in letting the kids have a break in the summer, of letting them just play and cruise town on their bikes and organize whiffle ball games and—yes—football games.

But as school gets ready to start, I can't shake the feeling that maybe I should have insisted they do more to keep up their skills. I just don't know. But I'm going to pick up Sax's book and see what he has to say on the matter.

1 comment:

Michelle O'Neil said...

Always a tough call. Let them be, or push them.

I bring a big bag of kid's books home from the library, leave them casually on the floor in the middle of the living room, and act like I couldn't care less.

Works every time but mine are still little enough to fall for this!