“As our classrooms become more risk averse, competition-free, feeling-centered, sedentary, they’re moving away from the needs of boys.”
Last time we were in the US my son was assigned to read Anne of Green Gables. The teacher commented that the students should pace themselves, because it might be hard for them to put the book down.
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Our family listened to an audio book version of A of GG a few years ago on a road trip. We actually all enjoyed it, maybe my son most of all. But yeah, he'd rather do Hardy Boys (except that the vocab. is still a bit difficult for him to read--as opposed to listening to audio. Soon.)
I've never read Anne. I have, however, browsed through Little House on the Prairie (1st vol.), and thought it was pretty riveting!
I read all the original Hardy Boys when I was a kid, but loved The Three Investigators even more. It was an excellent mystery series running from the early 1960s - 1980s. They could destroy the Hardy Boys and their silly father, Fenton Hardy, anytime.
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I got my boys into reading by checking out old radio shows on CD from the library - The Shadow, Dragnet, Flash Gordon, Superman, Gangbusters. . . they skipped The Hardy Boys and went straight to James Bond and Jason Bourne. But they love Anne of Greene Gables and The Princess Bride. They're good storytelling, regardless of the genre or gender of the protagonist.
What is really ridiculous about our education system is when they try to pretend that gender doesn't matter in the classroom. Boys and girls develop at different rates and in different ways. Most girls can sit still and do detail oriented work at a young age, while boys are more kinesthetic. Classrooms have long catered to the learning patterns of girls, so this is not news.
The original article here http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/19/school-has-become-too-hostile-to-boys/ focuses on stupid zero tolerance policies. People talk about professional educators and leaving academics up to the 'experts' and blahblahblah, but someone needs to tell us why we should trust people who think PopTarts are dangerous to anyone but a diabetic.
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It's a classic example of what we've come to term "political correctness." The drive to pursue a particular social agenda leads to ignoring even their own research. We're supposed to respect diversity in every way except gender now. In that area the enlightened try to pretend the diverse sexes are really the same or ought to be the same. (But even the worst advocates seem to pursue this agenda selectively. Otherwise it gets absurd and insane too fast... you have to sell mad folly slowly in little bits. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a widespread social backlash in decades ahead as reality refuses to accommodate the idealism.)
The Three Investigators series was indeed awesome. I read all of these until they stopped the series.
Then, I discovered that the series is quite a cult hit in Germany, called Die Drei Fragezeichen (The Three ???), and they have gone way beyond the original English series end, and they are still in production. Further, they still make a CD of each new book essentially in the form of a radio play. I started learning to read German with these books, and I still buy more of the CDs every time I go over. They are way up over 150 books/CDs now. I still enjoy these and use them to help keep my German sharp, though I mostly listen to them now, rather than reading.
I only have daughters, and my wife and daughters love AoGG, and I don't think they are entirely uninteresting, but I doubt they would keep a boy's interest the way a good series written for boys would. Although, my girls both loved The Three investigators too.
The video in the link is excellent: