Public libraries, armed with data on declining reading rates and continued academic achievement gaps between boys and girls, have tried to encourage programs that support young people in reading. This article illustrates Guys Read, one library system’s program geared toward preteen and adolescent boys. Created by children’s author and former National Ambassador for Children’s Literature Jon Scieszka, Guys Read is a web-based literacy program that strives to motivate boys to read by connecting them with materials they want to read, in ways they like to read (see www.guysread.com
Working in tandem with Scieszka, a Guys Read Summer Book Club program was designed by Hennepin County (MN) Library (HCL) in 2005. The goals of the initiative included encouraging boys to read more over the summer months and beyond, developing positive relationships between boys and male book club facilitators, and fostering boys’ positive attitudes and associations toward reading.
The purpose of this evaluation study was to document for HCL what clientele the program attracted; what the book clubs looked like in action; when and how the book clubs operated in particular settings; and the impact of the program on boys’ attitudes, perspectives about themselves as readers, and reading practices. University researchers were asked to collaborate with the library staff to evaluate the effectiveness of the Guys Read Summer Book Club program. We hope the results of this evaluation study will help bring attention to the important work libraries do in fostering reading with young people, including boys; inform other libraries in their development of children’s book clubs; and encourage rigorous evaluations of library programs.
Dillon, D. R., O’Brien, D. G., Scharber, C., & Nichols-Besel, K. (2017, Summer). Motivating boys to read: Guys Read, a summer library reading program for boys. Children and Libraries, 15(2), 3-8. [access here]