“What will get more teen boys reading?”
Research keeps finding that, after junior school, many boys stop reading for pleasure and seem uninspired by the books they are forced to read in school. A survey of 500 secondary school English teachers reveals a picture of many boys who simply lose interest in a book if it’s longer than 100 pages (and far less than this, in many cases).
Pearson’s the publisher, undertook the survey and publicised it this week to coincide with the launch of the `Heroes’ series. These short books are in genres that particularly appeal to boys and are coupled with a website with teaching resources and group exercises that hope to get boys back into reading. The wonderful writer, Frank Cottrell Boyce is series editor of ‘Heroes’. He says, “Our hope is that the stories will be shared and enjoyed by pupil and teacher alike because pleasure is the most powerful motivation.”
Some might argue that the use of shorter story books in the classroom is just pandering to kids who should try harder to concentrate. Some might argue that, no matter what the word count, if a book is compelling enough, the boys will be drawn in and want to finish it.
But will the introduction of short, boy orientated books lead to more teachers ditching the novels that are considered of greater literary merit, or, is this the way forward to get reluctant boys into the habit of reading for pleasure? Perhaps one day, like me, it will lead them to purchasing a tome such as Wolf Hall (and using it as a door stop).
Paula Rawsthorne’s thriller for young adults ‘The Truth about Celia Frost’, is published by Usborne on 1st August. Find out more at www.celiafrost.co.uk