Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Getting past page 100

The article on the BBC website about boys struggling to get past page 100 in a book brought back a lot of memories for me.

In a survey of 500 teachers, 70% said boys struggled to reach page 100.

I got into reading aged 18. I was unemployed. Mid 1980s. I would sit in the front room at home trying to read.

I had this trick to help me. Every 10 pages I would cheer under my breath. If I made it to page 100 I would feel elated. This was even the case with books I loved. The cheering helped me motivate myself. It gave me stamina.

The article mentions 'stamina'. That is spot on for me. Having the stamina to get to page 100. When I do school events, I say that to the children. I didn't have the stamina. I compare it to footballers, who need to build up their stamina at the beginning of the season. They have to try to get match fit, but that the rewards are great. Just like with reading.

If I didn't make it to page 100 - and I didn't often early on - I would feel like I had failed. Failed to finish a book. I never tried to read a book over 150 pages. Not until I was 20. It was too much. Too much of a chance of failing.

Take a look at some of the booklists on http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/ : lots of short books that might not make boys feel like failures.

Engage with some of their projects: projects that give boys new ways to maintain their stamina.

Lobby important people about the work the National Literacy Trust do.

I ought to admit that I still cheer myself when I'm reading. Even though I'm 43. When I hit page 100 in a book. That's why the story hit home for me.

No comments: