Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jocks & Geeks: Teen Talk Tuesday

Some of the same old cliques still exist in high school that were around twenty years or more ago. Depending on the community, culture, and environment, cliques revolve around everything from country clubs to farming, and from sports to art. In my school, there's a definite divide between the athletes and the rest. So where do book readers fit in?

Not ALL the time, but frequently, readers in my school are labeled as geeks or nerds. In keeping with the sports theme I promised for this week, I've interviewed student-athletes about their reading habits and about what gives reading the "geek" stigma.

From the perspectives of two cheerleaders, a boxer, and two basketball players, I was told there is a stigma around reading. The athletes I spoke with were all very confident about their reading habits, and weren't concerned by what others thought. When asked if they were ever teased by their peers for reading, they all said they were (except for the boxer! HA!), but that they weren't bothered by teasing. For one reason, their friends were doing the teasing, and it's all in good humor. For another, the athletes didn't feel the need to hide their books or cover the fact that they enjoyed reading. I was very glad to hear one player remark that he defends his reading by telling his friends that "at least he's doing something to make himself smarter!" The only complaint any of the athletes had was one who wished he had more time to read, because he said sports takes away a lot of his time.

My hope is more of these athletes take a similar attitude and that they know they're in a position to influence others in a positive way by enjoying great books.

As always, if you have any questions you'd like me to ask my students, please post them in the comments. The kids are always eager to share their wisdom! Next week, a commenter's request on Teen Talk Tuesday: romance in YA from a boy's point of view.

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