Saturday, February 27, 2010

the why chromosome (part four)

1. I realize I am such a boy.

I have another confession to make: I'm back in school, taking more graduate-level courses. I only mention this -- not for shock value, not to cause the rolling-of-the-eyes that will be taking place from people who think I'm insane and can't possibly keep up everything I do -- but I mention this because the why chromosome reared its ugly head yesterday in an exchange I had at school, and with one of my counselors.

I found out yesterday that, in my class, I was going to be PART OF A GROUP, and that we were going to COLLABORATE and do GROUPWORK.

Seriously... I wanted to punch someone.

I think there must be, somewhere on the why chromosome a gene that rebels against collaboration and groupwork. I mean, I think we like to be on "teams," but only if our team gets to crush the dreams of another team, break stuff, or kill something with fur on it.

But at school? To collaborate?

No freaking way.

So my counselor told me that she thought the best thing for me to do was proclaim myself as leader of the group (obviously playing on the why chromosome's weakness for the warrior-king archetype).

So I said, okay. Fine. I'll be leader. My first decision is to kick everyone else out of my group except for me.

2. One more study today -- a good one. This was from the journal The Reading Teacher from October, 2009. It was about 5 recommendations to teachers from a struggling boy reader -- about what the teachers could do better if they wanted to get him reading.

The important recommendations: get teachers, parents, and other responsible people in the kid's life to work together and set coordinated examples of reading for him at home and at school; build on past successes -- let the kid stay with a successful teacher for two or more years in order to further a successfully-established learning relationship; connect reading books to the kid's world; let him have a say in what gets read (you hear this one a lot with boys); and, once he finds a topic that he likes, allow him to continue to choose material in that genre.

This was all from a struggling boy reader. Makes a lot of sense.

3. Michael made some relevant points yesterday that I can't disagree with. Okay, maybe he has been told bluntly that YA is marketed toward girls; but, remember, all kinds of data show that girls like boy books just as much as boys do. So, maybe the marketers need to do some more research. After all, if you find something that will appeal to girls and NOT TURN AWAY boys at the same time, you'll increase your potential market share.

I dunno.

The cover thing... well... I've already presented that study showing that boys are more likely to choose a book based initially on its cover. So, Michael's right there, too. If you wrap a book in a cover that scares off boys, you've really got your work cut out for you. Unless, that is, you only care to market what's inside the book to girls.

And you'd probably only do that if you really believed that boys just don't read.