Reading With Middle Graders & the Adventures of Will Solvit
Getting children interested in reading for fun can be a daunting task. During the school year, kids are working on homework and busy with books they’ve been assigned for class. On summer break, you’re keen to encourage your children to spend their free time playing outside and getting some exercise. And furthermore, studies have shown that it’s far more difficult to get boys to read than girls.
What is a parent/guardian with a young son to do? Luckily, there are some answers. The New York Times explored this problem last summer, highlighting the heart of the issue with insights from researchers and publishers alike. The article suggests that the real challenge is not about boys and the act of reading itself, it’s about finding books that boys want to read. The Times quotes Michael Cart, the former president of the Young Adult Library Services Association:
“We need more good works of realistic fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, on- or offline, that invite boys to reflect on what kinds of men they want to become. In a commercially driven publishing environment, the emphasis is currently on young women.”
Researchers all have different theories on why and how to get middle graders, particularly boys, reading, but they all seem to agree on one thing. You will have a hard time getting a boy to read if you’re not presenting him with topics he’s interested in. Through sales figures and firsthand accounts alike, we’ve come to recognize that boys are more likely to read nonfiction than fiction, and that their interests in both genres carry many of the same themes: Dinosaurs! Sharks! History! Superheroes!
All of the above helped the Parragon team to find our own answers to the question: How do we help boys become more interested in fiction? Well, we met a snarky, adventurous boy by the name of Will Solvit, and the rest was history – literally.
Will, you see, has a problem: His parents are missing, and it’s up to him, his best friend Zoe, and a set of mysterious clues to save them! The catch: they’re trapped somewhere in time, and Will has to travel back to a number of places in history to try to find them. Can Will make it past Roman gladiators, fierce dinosaurs, space aliens, and other creatures?
To help kids find out, we’ve released the first book in the series, “Will Solvit and the T-Rex Terror”, for free on the iBookstore, Barnes & Noble Nook, and as a PDF download on Scribd. It’s packed with time travel adventures, real facts about dinosaurs and prehistoric times, and our cool friend Will!
Will Solvit & the T-Rex Terror Free Download: