According to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test.
The report also shows the gender gap exists in every socioeconomic and ethnic category, including the children of white, college-educated parents.
"The good news is we've started to pay more attention to this problem and fortunately there are plenty of good ideas for solving it," says L. A. Miller, author of the science-fiction and fantasy YA book series the Quests of Shadowind, which includes "Sky Shifter," "The Grounding Stone,” and "Veil.”
Quests of Shadowind is the story of a group of kids who are abducted to an alien world called Shadowind, which is inhabited by ghostly creatures, cyborg animals, and virtual humans—a land where anything is possible, including being downloaded into a cryptic, evil, role-playing game. In order to survive, the teens band together as they search for a way back home. Ultimately they must battle a sinister cyber lord for a powerful weapon that could destroy the universe.
Mr. Miller believes “kids, especially boys, will read more if we cater to their lifestyles, interests, and concerns. After all this is a generation focused on smartphones, games, the Internet, and social networking, and they show a lot of precocity and independence.”
Last year First Lady Michelle Obama joined Education Secretary Arne Duncan and celebrities at the Library of Congress to kick off Read Across America Day.
"In our house we read all the time," Mrs. Obama said at the event. "President Obama is called the 'fact guy' because he reads all the time."
"It's obvious that it's parents' responsibility to encourage their children to read more, and that means getting involved themselves. They cannot try to make their kids read while Mom and Dad are watching television or cruising on the computer,” says L. A. Miller. “If you want children to read, as a parent you should do the same and be a role model."
Here are some ways to make boys and girls read more:
* Take them regularly to libraries
* Take them regularly to bookstores
* Steer kids to books based on their interests
* Let them choose their own books
* Be a role model--make sure you read too
* Read together
* Schedule daily reading times (e.g., 30 minutes per day)
"Parents and schools need to take the reading deficiency problem more seriously. Reading is a very necessary and important thing in children's lives," says L. A. Miller.
L.A. Miller has been writing for more than forty years. His backgrounds in science fiction, astronomy, technology, and classic literature inform his work, which has included novels, short stories and music. He is the owner of Wood n Nails Music and lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his wife and two dogs. He is the author of the Quests of Shadowind series, which include "Sky Shifter," "The Grounding Stone,” and "Veil.”
For more information contact L.A. Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.QuestsofShadowind.com.
"Sky Shifter," "The Grounding Stone,” and "Veil” are available Amazon.com