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Table of Contents Introduction...page 4 About the authors... page 5 Chapter One: Who's underachieving now? Yes, boys. Who says and why? ...page 6 Chapter Two: The literacy link: Why reading and writing skills are key...page 16 Chapter Three: Math, science and underachievement: Making the difference...page 26 Chapter Four: What holds smart kids back? Physical issues ...page 37 Chapter Five: Dads and other alpha males: The role model factor at home...page 49 Chapter Six: School shortcomings: What parents can do...page 60 Chapter Seven: Wise guys: The importance of mentors...page 71 Chapter Eight: Real boys read: What and how do they want to read?...page 82 Chapter Nine: Real boys write: Making it happen, making it fun and effective...page 92 Chapter Ten: Real boys talk: Winning with words...page 102 Chapter Eleven: School's out: Transitions to adulthood...page 114 Appendix Endnotes...page 120 Bibliography...page 134 Additional recommended books for parents...page 147 Parenting, literacy and education websites (including Cynthia's picks)...page 149 Finding books for reluctant readers...page 155 Publishers of books for reluctant readers...page 155 Websites for preteens and teens...page 157 Mentoring and reading-buddy websites...page 159 Acknowledgments...page 161
Pam Withers is a former business journalist and the bestselling, award-nominated author of more than a dozen adventure novels particularly popular with teen boys. They include Peak Survival, Skater Stuntboys and Vertical Limits;She is also co-author with John Izzo of the highly acclaimed Values Shift: The New Work Ethic and What It Means for Business (Prentice Hall Canada 2000). Her magazine writing credits include McCalls, Working Woman, Profit and numerous inflight magazines. Withers travels North America extensively, speaking at schools, librarians' and writers' conferences. She's a dual U.S./Canadian citizen. The second of six siblings, she spent her growing-up years trying to measure up to her smarter, better-looking older sister, Cynthia. (She has just about outgrown that.) Withers and her husband, a university professor, live in Vancouver, Canada, where they recently completed raising a high-energy son who spent his adolescence as the official teen editor of her teen adventure novels. Her website is PamWithers.com. During her thirty-year career as a high school teacher, Cynthia Gill, M.A., L.M.F.T. worked on innovative curricula development and served as an academic dean, while winning acclaim for her work in the classroom. She completed her master's degree in Adlerian psychotherapy and counseling in 2006, and has since worked with adolescents, children and families as a licensed marriage and family therapist. Gill has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Globe University and enjoys public speaking, particularly on parent education. She has led numerous groups of students on educational and service trips to Russia, Germany and Latin America. A former homeschooling mom, she also served as a consultant to homeschooling families with an accrediting organization. She and her husband live in Minneapolis and like to travel in between visits from their three grown sons, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren. John Duffy is a clinical psychologist and certified life coach with a thriving private practice in the Chicago area. He is also a national parenting and relationships expert on The Steve Harvey Show. Duffy consults with individuals, groups and corporations in a number of areas, including Emotional Intelligence, stress management, balancing work and family, conflict resolution, goal-setting and the power of thoughts in bringing about change. Dr. Duffy's highly satisfied clients include Sears, Allstate, General Electric, Household Financial, Exxon Mobil, Accenture, Bank of America and Hewitt Associates. The Duffy family lives in Chicago, Illinois.
"Highlights the benefits of helping boys read." --Vancouver Sun "Absolutely and utterly intriguing [...] it has given me some terrific skills that i want to use with my own son." --Pat Thurston, KGO-AM/San Francisco "As a mother of boys, this is a book about a subject close to my heart. I found great words of wisdom and many accessible, practical ideas and solutions here, with a goal to empower parents." --Parenting Express "This book makes things like school and life seem much easier for a parent and a teen to conquer." --Savings for Sanity "The authors turn fear and guilt into can-do confidence." --aznet news "I recommend this to all parents of boys, especially moms." --Griffin's Honey "I think all teachers can agree that more time spent reading and more parents modeling reading will help students, both boys and girls, become more enthusiastic readers!" --The Reading Zone "A great read for anyone with boys, struggling or not. This book will help you help your son find success in school and their daily life just by encouraging them to be the best of themselves. A book that should be at the top of every parents list. A definitive two thumbs up and five stars for this book!" --Dayton Mom-Spot "Jump Starting Boys: Help Your Reluctant Learner Find Success in School and Life by Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill is a book that all moms who have boys need to have." --Giveaways 4 Mom "The book was filled with interesting information and tips on how you can help your son become someone who is a lifelong learner and is successful in his studies." --One Crazy Kid "Definitely a book that I would like to recommend to any and all parents of boys and teachers and educators as well." --Enchanted Chameleon "For parents of boys, it's a great book to help prepare for a new school year." --Chanhassen Villager "Jump-Starting Boys is a great resource for parents and teachers of reluctant learners - especially boys. It is a must-read for anyone dealing with an underachieving -- and contains a wealth of advice that can be instrumental is helping that learner find success in school -- and in life!" --Teacher Tips and Lesson Plans "Withers and Gill provide messages that foster parents, social workers, and independent living coordinators can share with their sons/ clients to help them choose to prepare for the workplace with better education." --Foster Care to Success "A must read for all caregivers." --Maria's Space "If you are a mom of boys you need this book in your life!" --Mami's Time Out "Offers solid information for parents of boys" --Publishers Weekly "My son's drive to succeed took a nosedive as he hit puberty, and it has taken several years to begin to see a turnaround. I was encouraged to find this empowering book on the subject, written by two women with experience in teaching, family therapy, and parenting. This book includes relatable stories and take-action checklists." --Foreword Reviews "An excellent contribution to the existing body of literature, full of practical tips on how parents can help their sons achieve their best academically." --Library Journal (starred review), Julia M. Reffner "A worthy book for parents." --Crux of the Matter "Busy parents (I feel your pain!) will appreciate the format of this book that offers a positive spin on the issues that boys face: chapters are divided by useful subheadings and offer brief tips that can be implemented right away, along with quick-fire background ('Symptoms,' 'How Common,' 'Potential Causes') on what parents need to know on a particular topic." --Henrietta Thornton-Verma "An indispensable resource for all parents of boys ages 7-17." --Lake Minnetonka Patch "In an age when the culture of childhood is defined by digital screens, consumerist messaging, and cynically violent and sexualized media, Jump-Starting Boys provides sage advice on what parents can do to help kids -- particularly boys -- grow into responsible, happy, and well-rounded individuals. Encourage reading, help with homework, and limit screen time -- these simple measures have proven effective time and again, as Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill show. A must read for parents, teachers, and anyone else concerned about children." --Joel Bakan, author of Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Your Children "For parents who want to be sensitive to the struggles in their boys' lives, here are wise words from two parents who have been through the struggles and lived to tell the tale. Jump-Starting Boys is loaded with hints from the experts, but it never strays far from the experience of raising boys in a world that is less and less sensitive to their needs." --Michael Sullivan, author of Connecting Boys With Books and Connecting Boys With Books 2: Closing the Reading Gap "Pam's books have wide appeal to boys and girls, to avid and reluctant readers, to teens and to younger children who are looking for a challenging high-interest book." -- British Columbia Teachers' Federation newsletter "This book makes an impact that will unlock potential, ignite passion and motivate both parents and boys toward success and satisfaction. I enthusiastically recommend it." --Judy Ford, LCSW, bestselling author of Wonderful Ways to Love a Child and and Every Day Love Read and Succeed! The most important time any parent can make themselves truly available for their child is around school and homework. With Jump-Starting Boys, Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill have provided an essential resource that any parent or concerned caregiver can draw upon to ensure their sons don't encounter a slump during their crucial tween and teen years. Kids--especially boys--grow tremendously during this crucial time, and their bodies undergo so many different changes so quickly that it's easy to forget their brains are growing and changing at the same breakneck pace. Remember what it was like to be a teenager, addled with hormones and bursting with the desire to change the world, all while having to deal with algebra homework and annoying parents? It's easy to forget how stressful that is! Many of the patients I work with are teenage boys who can't remain focused in the classroom or don't care about school at all. One of the most common reasons for their problems are addictions to distractions--TV, video games, texting, mindless time-sinks on the Internet--and their parents need help with these 21st century issues. Is it any wonder, then, that many teen and tween boys lag behind their peers? In my book The Available Parent, I implore parents to recognize the importance of checking in on their kids when they're not in school. Don't smother your kids (and spoil their fun) by being overbearing--just check in a couple times a day to let them know you're interested in what they do during their spare time. I promise you won't regret it, and it could lead you to uncover habits or activities that are holding your children back. My point--along with Pam and Cynthia's--is that I think all teenagers have some dormant passions that can only be uncovered through the process of acknowledgment and listening. Your teen may be afraid to speak of their interests for various reasons, but if you stay curious, the shadows of their passions will evolve and change shape as they come into focus. The story of how Pam and Cynthia came to research and write Jump-Starting Boys never fails to amaze me. Pam, an author writing for the young adult crowd, discovered that tween boys (a demographic that has become resistant to reading) preferred her novels because her stories matched their maturation levels so well. This inspired Pam to rise to the challenge of encouraging boys to read and succeed. Pam spoke to her sister, educator Cynthia Gill, about facing down the phenomenon of underachieving boys. Jump-Starting Boys is their solution. This book is filled with more than 200 methods parents can use to work with their sons to discover their learning styles, ignite their passion for reading, and ultimately succeed in school and in life. I've worked with hundreds of teen and tween boys over my career as a clinical psychologist, and I can absolutely confirm that helping your child cultivate a love for reading and lifelong learning is one of the best things you can do for them as a parent. Following the advice that Pam and Cynthia provide in Jump-Starting Boys will give you the tools you need to help your child grow into a competent, confident person. If you have a son who is having problems at home and at school, don't panic. Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill have bottled so much wonderful reassurance, advice, and practical wisdom into this informative gem of a book that really will help you turn your struggling child's life around. I will keep a copy of Jump-Starting Boys on my shelf, and I highly recommend it to every mom and dad who is raising a son. --Dr. John Duffy, author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens