It's a beautiful day outside today -- sunny and 70 degrees. So when it came time to read this afternoon, I decided to apply my new-found knowledge of the male brain.
Instead of making the boys come inside (they'd been happily playing outside at Grandma and Grandpa's), I took the books outside. Instead of insisting that they sit down and listen, I let them listen or not. And I let them do their own thing while we read: Son #1 worked on his fishing tackle, Son #2 continued to construct a home for his frog and Sons #3 and 4 ate a snack.
We read a picture book that way, then paged through a nature book, trying to identify the frog. (It's a green frog, in case you're wondering.)
Then we moved to the sandbox and the last two chapters of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. (Which I highly recommend, BTW). Son #1, who's been reading independently for years, brought over his fishing tackle and continued to work while he listened. #2, 3 and 4 worked in the sandbox, creating roads, digging tunnels and burying themselves. And they listened.
They listened. All four of them. Even #4, who's just three years old. (It helped, I think, that the second-to-last chapter featured bulldozers and tractors.) Trust me when I say that reading inside does not go nearly as well. Inside, I'm lucky if I can get through two pages without interruption. Outside, I read two chapters.
I think there's something to the idea that boys listen and learn better when otherwise engaged!
How about you? Any examples of boy-friendly learning strategies successfully applied at your house?