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Jump-Starting Boys: Help Your Reluctant Learner Find Success in School and Life Paperback – July 16, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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

From the Back Cover

Positive Solutions To Get Your Son Back on Track

Why is your smart, perceptive son suddenly struggling at school? Are daily arguments about homework turning your home into a battle zone? It is no secret boys are falling behind in education, with fewer young men graduating from high school and enrolling in college every year. Filled with reassurance and support, Jump-Starting Boys has heart-warming true stories, take-action checklists and over 200 helpful tips. Educators and mothers themselves, authors Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill, MA, LMFT, turn fear and guilt into can-do confidence through easy techniques and achievable solutions. Finally—a book that truly targets concerned parents and helps you work with your son to make sure he beats the odds and becomes a lifelong learner!


• Determine your son’s learning style and how best to help him learn

• Strengthen your child’s memory

• Encourage him to appreciate math and science (even if you don’t)

• Engage your reluctant reader via book clubs, graphic novels and kinesthetic activities

• Limit his screen time without coming across as a tyrant

• Use his interest in technology to foster excitement about learning and forming good homework habits

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Viva Editions (July 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936740397
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936740390
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #477,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Cyrus Webb TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
So many times when it comes to children we are quick to write them off if they seem slow or not as enthusiastic about learning. In her new book JUMP-STARTING BOYS Pam Withers shows us that maybe it is the technique that is the problem when it comes to reaching the child where they are and giving them the tools necessary to succeed.

There's so much in this book that I think encourages both parents, mentors and educators when it comes especially to young boys and those who are making the transition into adulthood. For instance Pam shows that a lot more can be gained when you are able to use examples and experiences the child can relate to. This will not only keep their attention but allow them to see the connection between with life and education.

We also have to learn to be patient, understanding that not everyone is going to advance at the same level. We have to be able to tailor projects to the specific individual if you want them to respond to the best of their ability. This also reminds us that we should be willing to let them know that we haven't given up on them. For many children---young boys especially---it can be frustrating if they feel as though no one cares. This also contributes to behavioral issues and other destructive habits. If the parent or mentor can show that they are really looking out for the child's best interest this will help them to work together.

Success is something that is not always the same for everyone, but Pam shows us that we can help young boys find success in school and their daily life just by encouraging them to be the best of themselves. If we can do that, then their own personal success is guaranteed.
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There are lots of great ideas. The only drawback is getting assistance from and ideas to the local school system. They have ways to do things and don't want to change. For example, getting boys to sit still while reading. I am still reading the book and am about 3/4 of the way through it.
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"I have bought many copies of Jump-Starting Boys to give out to the parents I work with in my teaching and mentor-ship. There is no better book on the market about how to empower boys to "read and succeed." They also address science and math. The tips really work and I have used them and recommend every parent give them a try. We live in a highly competitive world and the ideas in this book will give every child the best chance. I give this book my HIGHEST recommendation."
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