Interesting Reading

Marsha - posted on 12/03/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Hello Ladies,
As Christmas nears, I wanted to take time to say Happy Holidays and to suggests books instead of video games as presents this year. Giving our boyz a love of reading is the best gift we can give.

This is an excerpt from a piece in USA Today from January 2009

Black males might come from the same families, neighborhoods and schools as their sisters, but the girls' outcomes are very different. For the most part, black females are doing far better than black males, outdistancing them by wide gaps in high school graduation and college enrollment rates. Many colleges report that black women have higher graduation rates than white men.

This gender gap has many causes, starting with the fact that 70% of black children are born into single-parent families. The girls have mothers for role models; the boys lack fathers. Then, ladle on daily doses of inner-city crime, violence, drugs and toxic popular culture, which disproportionately affect boys.

Enough of the bad news.

What matters today is determining how to leverage Obama's historic achievement into a fresh beginning for black boys. Confidence is important, but it's not sufficient. As Obama often says, success begins with parents willing to take responsibility, set limits and turn off the TV. But successful education reforms have shown that the right academic atmosphere can help overcome dysfunctional family situations. Some positive steps, culled from the best research about what works in the real world, include:


Focus on literacy

In elementary school, children get one shot at learning to read. Those who fail often are classified as having a learning disability. (Did you really expect schools to blame themselves for failing to teach?) Or the children are passed along unprepared to middle school, where scant time is spent actually learning to read.

Two things need to change: Don't give up on the boys in elementary school, and keep teaching reading skills in middle school. Many English teachers in middle school know more about teaching literature than they do about teaching reading skills, which means the first step is training the teachers.


Learn from successful schools

Few African-African boys have access to elite private schools such as Washington's Sidwell Friends, where the Obama girls started classes Monday. But several inner-city schools are showing impressive results. At the Key Academy in Washington, D.C., a charter that is part of the successful KIPP group, black boys arrive in fifth grade reading two grades behind the girls. By seventh grade, they pull even. Their success is related to a persistent focus on literacy skills, even in science and math classes.

At New York's Frederick Douglass Academy, a regular public school where two-thirds of the students qualify for the free lunch program, students take courses that rival the rigor of anything offered in the best suburban schools, and nearly all go on to college.


Create college mentoring programs

Roughly two-thirds of black males who enter college never earn degrees, an astonishing statistic. Several community colleges and four-year colleges are counteracting this successfully by creating one-on-one mentoring programs and support groups of black males.


The statistics that go along with this piece are startling. But there are ways to change this trend. Check out this book:

Kill Them Before They Grow: The Misdiagnosis of African American ... [Book]
by Michael Porter - African American Images (1998) - Paperback - 88 pages
Here is an examination of how African-American males end up in dead-end classes and what must be done to change this trend.

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Monika - posted on 12/06/2009

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That is very interesting. I noticed at my son's school, Interest in reading amongst the boys is waning... either there is no reading in the household, or the difficulty to find books for boys is overwhelming.



Maybe we can use this forum as a sounding board for ideas to better prepare our sons.





Some book suggestions I have would be anything by Sharon Draper (Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series are great). She has books for young people and teenagers.



Monika Brooks

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