Jon Scieszka, the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, in an interview with School Library Journal stated these interesting remarks on reading, books and libraries:
The challenge of getting boys reading is a problem that has only grown worse as the Department of Education has still failed to even consider that gender might have some effect on the acquisition of reading skills. We are nowhere near paying our teachers and librarians the salaries they deserve for the crucial work they do. We need to seriously examine our mania for testing. Across the country, I have seen these required tests eating up time for anything else, chasing good educators out of the business, and killing kids’ joy of reading.
While these facts describe the setting in the United States, they also describe similar problems that exists in other nations. And Muslim children, teachers and librarians are included in this scenario wherever in the world they are.
Focusing more on the issue of motivating boys to read we should note that Mr. Scieszka, an author, is a founding member of Guys Read, a literacy program which aims “to motivate boys to read by connecting them with materials they will want to read, in ways they like to read.” Research shows that generally boys take longer to develop into readers than girls do. There are many theories which propose to explain these differences which will not be discussed here. For now, parents, teachers and librarians may find the information on these sites helpful:
Jon Scieszka is also an advocate for libraries. In one of his last interviews before handing over the reins of ambassador he stated:
Is your child a member of library? Are you a library member? If yes, when last have you been to the library and taken your children to the library. The library is a place that opens doors and windows to the world. Libraries make learning fun; it is learning without the rules and rigours of the classroom. In later posts, I will discuss the role of the library in the school and the community, insha’Allah (Allah Willing).