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Article of Interest - Literacy

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Bridges4Kids LogoBoys' Book Club
by Anna Guido, Cincinnati Enquirer, March 29, 2004
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Ice cream, pizza, field trips and books that grab the reader's attention. These are the tools Delhi Middle School librarian Sandra Lingo is using to get sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade boys hooked on reading in the "All Guys Book Club."

It started last year with a reading exploratory class for eighth-grade boys. An English teacher at the time, Lingo said her students were not engaged in reading.

"I hoped, through the book club, to find out what would draw them in - to learn from them what they liked to read so that I could make my class a more guy-friendly place," Lingo said.

The after-school club started meeting last year and has since spawned more clubs - one for girls, one for teachers, a lunchtime read-aloud club, and a before-school reading club called "A.M. Lit Bit."

This year's "All Guys Book Club" is on its ninth book: Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen, a survival story about a 15-year-old boy whose punishment for juvenile crimes is banishment for one year to a remote Alaskan island.

"It sounded like a good book," said Jon Grote, 14, an eighth-grader from Delhi Township, adding he doesn't read much at home.

Students can come and go with each new book. So far this year, more than 55 Delhi Middle School boys have participated.

Why boys? To close the gender gap in literacy, said Lingo, who is working her doctorate in literacy.

"Research for decades and decades and decades has shown that boys just don't like to read as much as girls, and that there is a huge gap in their writing abilities," Lingo said.

The All Guys Book Club is funded by a $750 Learning Links Grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

The All Gals Book Club is funded with a $250 grant from the Riverview-Delhi Kiwanis Club and an anonymous $500 contribution.

About National Library Week

National Library Week is April 18-24. The observance began in 1958, after research that showed Americans were spending less on books.

For a free catalog with National Library Week posters and other promotional materials, call (800) 545-2433, ext. 5046. For information, e-mail pio@ala.org.

    

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