Dads Read, Boys Win: The Effects of Male Mentors on Reading Motivation — Lucinda Whitehurst, Brenda Snead, St. Christopher's School, United States

  • Libraries (2010-11)

Lower School librarians Brenda Snead and Lucinda Whitehurst, at St. Christopher’s School (USA), were already using competition to motivate their students to read. Five years into their annual Battle of the Books contest, they added some novelty to boost the interest of Grade 5 boys, now in their third year with BOB.

Snead and Whitehurst developed and tested DADS READ, a mentorship initiative that called for fathers or other male mentors to team up with boys and read three books together from a list of 20 provided. Adults received background on the author, discussion questions and a list of related activities to help them engage their sons. On the day of the Grade 5-only competition, the father-son pairs were teamed randomly with others to answer questions about their books.

In post-competition surveys and video interviews, boys and fathers reported increased enthusiasm for reading, plus the bonus of more father-son time together. j“I do stuff with my dad like sports…but usually we don’t get to write down facts and quiz each other and read books together. It was a really good way to get close to your dad,” one boy said. (202 words)

Read Brenda Snead and Lucinda Whitehurst’s full Action Research report.

Educator quote about the IBSC’s Action Research

“Not knowing much about action research as a theory, I started this process with both anticipation and apprehension. I now see how valuable action research can be for teachers in the field. Often we want to know how changing our methods can affect our results, but we do not have a long period to gather data and analyze results. The Action Research model is quickly implemented and flexible enough to adapt to a variety of needs.”

Lucinda Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School (USA)


“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in an action research project with the IBSC and am looking forward to taking advantage of the information gleaned through all the team projects.”