I just read one of the best articles I’ve come across in a long time. It’s about how kids who can’t find a hero they can relate to in books are more inclined to become nonreaders, which sets them up to do poorly in education.
       Although the piece focuses on aboriginals/natives in particular, the author points out that this lack of heroes is a problem facing schoolkids who are members of many immigrant groups in our multicultural world.
       The article is written by David Bouchard, children’s author, storyteller, literacy champion and former president of the Metis Nation of Greater Victoria, BC, Canada.
       His article is is the Spring 2015 issue of Canadian Children’s Booknews, which you can download for $4.95:
http://www.bookcentre.ca/store/products/canadian_childrens_book_news_spring_2015
       He quotes Maria Montessori in saying that it takes three things to learn to read: time, a hero and books to which the reader can relate. Aboriginals (and immigrants) often lack books with heroes and material to which they can relate, he notes: “[They] can read and many do read, but all too many do not read for pleasure.”
       As for time, we’re also not giving kids the flexible time they need: “Children will read when THEY are ready and not when we tell them to. Parents need not subject their children to early and overly aggressive testing that will taint the love of reading in their children.”
      Take these factors together and you’ve got roughly 70% of students on native reserves not completing high school, and more than 50% off-reserve dropping out before completing grade 12. “This is wrong and not acceptable,” he says.
     So concisely and persuasively written. Thanks, David Bouchard: http://www.davidbouchard.com/