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"Research shows the earlier parents become involved in their children's literacy practices, the more profound the results and the longer-lasting the effects."

Mullis, R.L., Mullis, A.K.,
Cornille, T.A., Ritchson, A.D. and Sullender, M.S., 2004.
Early literacy outcomes and parent involvement.
Tallahassee, Fl: Florida State University.

Boys Love to Learn!

Boys can be amazing scholars, especially if they are interested in the topic. This fact is obvious to anyone who has had the pleasure of listening to a young boy recite the statistics of his favourite sports team, the details of natural phenomena or the amazing powers of a video game hero. Yet, even with such marvelous minds and curious instincts, they generally lag behind their female peers in language acquisition, reading scores and early school success. While generalized statistics cannot be applied to all boys, it would be ill-advised to ignore the alarming drop-out rates of boys, the higher number of boys identified as being at-risk of not achieving scholastic success and their tendency, more often than girls, to declare themselves non-readers.

Barry MacDonald, author and founder of MentoringBoys.com, has put serious thought into the issue of boys and literacy. Here are just a few of his suggestions on how to get boys excited about reading:*

• Begin with books that boys choose – and dialogue with them about their choices.

• Reach out to the reluctant – find interesting books for them at early ages.

• Make literacy a social affair
– the dialogue and social interaction that emerge during social gatherings support the development of literacy.

• Read to boys – listening to stories will help boys develop more complex language structures.

• Boys love humour – even if it is not your kind of humour, remember to laugh with them.

• Electronic literacy is popular with boys – try to find a balance but do not ignore these important learning tools and the complex problem solving skills that emerge when boys use electronic mediums.

Barry will be delivering a keynote address and full day session at the Centre for Family Literacy, Training Institute in August 2009.

* Found at: www.mentoringboys.com/literacy.html

Yet, even with such marvelous minds and curious instincts, they generally lag behind their female peers ...


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