Sunday, January 20, 2019

Narrowing the Gap

Right after Christmas Break I had my students go book shopping. I was blessed with a grant to purchase books for my classroom library, and along with books from Scholastic book orders and my own purchases, I had quite a stack for students to browse through.

As students were shopping, I heard a boy say, "These are girl books." I dismissed it and kept moving throughout the room. Then I heard a similar comment from another boy. I replied, "There is no such thing as boy books or girl books. There are just books."

It happened again during the next period, so I thought it was time to take a look.

And I found out they were right.

I saw that many of the books had female protagonists and many of them were realistic fiction - both which had been influenced by my own preferences and interests. I have always tried to be cognizant of the genre gaps because I tend to avoid reading certain ones. It seems in the process, I have unintentionally overlooked what books might appeal to or interest my boys.

I knew I had to take a look at my library and evaluate its access for all of my students. Research shows that boys tend to not read as much as girls, and they have lower reading achievement scores. Having classroom libraries that do not include the interests of all students adds to this problem.

There is a lot of emphasis on creating diverse libraries that represent all students, but that same diversity must stretch across interests too. My students pointed that out to me. Today, as I placed a new Scholastic book order, I am happy to say I am narrowing that gap as the order includes many new books recommended by my boys. I can't wait to see what they say now.

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