Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What Girls Read

30 November

A great deal of scholarly attention has been paid to what boys like to read in the last decade. We know that boys like action-packed adventure stories and are drawn to graphic novels and facts and statistics.  It’s almost taken for granted that girls like to read, but is that always the case?  While it is always true that personal experience affects the brain’s wiring, girls do seem to show stronger verbal skills and demonstrate empathy more readily than boys.  According to David Chadwell, an expert in gender differentiation in classroom teaching, boys learn best through structure and girls through connection. This means girls need to voice their opinion, make connections between what they read and their lives, and use manipulatives or real objects to explore concepts.  Boys need this, too—it’s just that girls really need it!  The difference is very clear to me when I reflect on the book choices students make in the library.  From the earliest years, girls choose what they know: princesses and fairies, books they connect to because they know they are our little princesses, our most treasured possessions.  In Primary, they become interested in cooking and crafts, real things they do in real life.  In Secondary, they go in two directions.  They get involved in “teen drama” or books about social movements.  Books from authors like Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, Sara Shepard—even Jane Austin and Charlotte Bronte—tend to mirror the internal and external conflict of adolescent angst while books like Half the Sky or Girls Gone Green nurture the opinionated girls with the drive and ambition to save the world. You can review any of these books or authors on the IAA Libraries’ website @ http://library.iaa.edu.jo/.  Please feel free to stop by any of the libraries to discuss books for girls and boys. 

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