Friday, September 24, 2010

Put Down The Controller and Pick Up A Book

Thomas Spence, President of Spence Publishing Company in Dallas, Texas, writes in the Wall Street Journal Online Opinion Journal his suggestion on How To Raise Boys Who Read. Spence states that the decreasing number of boys that enjoy reading is due to excess playing of video games and Internet use. He supports his theory with a randomized controlled trial performed by Dr. Robert Weis, psychology professor at Denison University. The trial focused on the effects of video games had on academic ability. The results confirmed boys with video games at home suffer academically because they are gaming more than studying. Spence then goes on to questions whether the current solution to attract boys to reading is the right one. Presently, the attempts to lure boys in are made through books in the "gross-out market." This idea is supported by those that believe the problem is that boys are not given books that are interesting to them. Spence claims the problem with this thinking is "if you keep meeting the boy where he is, he doesn't go very far." As a father of six boys, Spence's analysis of the problem seems to be backed up by sufficient "field research."

Reading this article, I wonder what other people's experience or thoughts are about Spence's claims. Video games having an adverse effects on academics is not new thinking. However, I did not expect it to cause gaps between girls and boys reading scores on national standardized tests. My own brother was a video game junky. He would hide out in the basement day and night until he conquered whatever happened to be the game of the moment. This pattern went on throughout his high school career. Yet, at twenty-three my brother is an avid reader. His top reading choices are business and current event books. Perhaps because my sister and I read a lot he eventually picked up the habit too.

I know everyone's different and I guess that is why I posted about this article. I want to hear other people's opinions and what other suggestions they have on raising boys that like to read.

Now discuss.

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