Laura Varlas

Give Boys Reading Role Models

What's with boys and reading?

In "The Boy Factor in Special Education: Overrepresented or Misguided Pedagogy?," one of yesterday's sessions at ASCD's Annual Conference in San Francisco, presenters talked about ways to make instruction more accessible to boys. And really, the strategies discussed—more active learning environments, less emphasis on conformity, more student choice—are tools that work with all genders and are about the overall goal to make learning more engaging.

The strategy that really stood out relates to the question above: how can we hook more boys into reading? Presenter Gail Choice observed that we need to provide boys with male reading role models.

"Boys don't see reading as a masculine activity," Choice said. She suggested getting male volunteers to come into school to read to or with classes and individual boys, providing boys with reading role models.

Along with male literacy role models, let all students self-select some of their reading, choose nonfiction, participate in readers theater, have time to practice before reading aloud, and joyfully experiment with the writing process with topics they are comfortable writing about (in other words, let kids be gross, weird, and funny).

To read more about gender and learning, check out Inservice blog posts: Stop Pseudoscience of Gender Differences in Learning and Science and Education Need to Work Together for Boys & Girls.


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