I was born full grown in the middle of a hurricane and an earthquake on 10 September 1954, 12.52 P.M. When I found out that I had missed lunch, I gave such a shout that the Earth stopped and spun backwards two days. That's why I celebrate my birthday on 8 September.
I think every parent knows that, like, boys and girls are different. And we just don't take that into account in schools on those things like required reading lists. 'Cause that was my experience, say, with my son, who had to read 'Little House on the Prairie' when he was in third grade.
Expand the definition of 'reading' to include non-fiction, humor, graphic novels, magazines, action adventure, and, yes, even websites. It's the pleasure of reading that counts: the focus will naturally broaden. A boy won't read shark books forever.
My platform has been to reach reluctant readers. And one of the best ways I found to motivate them is to connect them with reading that interests them, to expand the definition of reading to include humor, science fiction/fantasy, nonfiction, graphic novels, wordless books, audio books and comic books.
I like to tell kids that I started thinking about stories when I first started reading stuff like Dr. Seuss and 'Go, Dog. Go!,' thinking, 'Oh yeah, that's funny. I'd like to do that.' And then writing throughout school, but at the same time I was studying pre-med stuff, because my mom told me I should be a doctor.
I remember telling my second-graders the basic 'Metamorphosis' story, saying, like, 'What about - what if a guy woke up one morning and he was a bug? Wouldn't that be weird?' And they loved that. And I think that was the trigger that made me think, like, 'Oh man, here's my audience. They're just a lot shorter than I ever thought they might be.'
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