November 13, 2012

What Can Parents and Educators Do to Encourage Black Boys to Read?

I marvel at the number of students that are checking out books in my library media center.  
This student enjoys reading the Charlie Bone series.

Books selected range from Anime/Manga and adventure to informational texts and Street Lit.  I've also noticed the strong increase of readership of males checking out books across the genres.   I'm just so happy to see my students relish in the love of reading, the excitement and the smiles.  To remain abreast of studies, I look for journal/magazine articles and blogs that discuss new trends or thought about the subject.  Below is an excerpt from an article posted on Getting Boys To Read blog.  The article discusses how parents and educators can encourage black males to read, provides GREAT tips and references a thought provoking journal article by University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Jeffrey Lewis.


What Can Parents and Educators 
Do to Encourage Black Boys to Read?
1.  Provide their sons and students with positive black male role models. Enroll their children in mentoring programs, hire black male teachers, give boys examples of positive black male role models, bring in adult black male readers to read to classrooms.

2.  Provide black males with a male-centered learning environment.

3.  Make sure libraries and classrooms are stocked with books and magazines that cater to African American culture. It can get frustrating for black kids to continuously read about white protagonists. Check out, a site committed to African-American Children’s Books, Multicultural Children’s Books and Workshops. 

4.  Be sensitive about stereotyping ANY student of a different race or gender. Have a zero-racism policy in your classroom/ library/ home.

5.  Be encouraging. If your son or student whines that he “can’t,” remind him that “can’t” is a lot different than “won’t.” Black boys are JUST as capable as anyone else. They just have more obstacles in their way sometimes.

6.  Make sure their basics needs are being met. It is hard to concentrate on reading, or school work in general, if one is hungry, cold, or living in an abusive environment. Be sensitive to what’s going on at home or even in school when you are not there.

7.  On the other side, hold ALL boys, regardless of race, accountable for their behavior. Don’t allow their homework to slide or their attitude to be less than respectful based upon their race or gender. 

8.  Parent-teacher contact is important and vital to student’s educational growth. 

For more information about providing black male students educational support, read this recent article from entitled Supporting African American Boys in School by the Wisconsin Center for Education.

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