Boys + Books Can = Cool — Bev Schultz, The Ridge School, South Africa

  • Libraries (2010-11)

Twelve boys from Grades 4 – 7 from The Ridge School, a boys‟ preparatory school in Johannesburg, were randomly selected to participate in an action research project to investigate the effect of male role models on reading success. The research question focussed on peer reviews of books and included boys sharing their enthusiasm for their chosen book through oral presentations. These oral presentations were not just ordinary ones: the boys had to enthuse and persuade an assembly of their peers that their chosen book was worthy of reading. Their task was to enhance interest in a title and hopefully, through their enthusiastic role modelling to their peers, a greater interest in leisure reading might develop. This was a challenge that required the boys to really understand and feel enthusiastic about the book they had read, as well as develop their presentation skills. Could an event such as this enhance boys‟ enthusiasm for, and success in reading? Findings reveal that peer book reviews by young male role models (the boys) enhance and sustain their enthusiasm for reading. Furthermore, critical reflection of the action research process has assured its sustainability.