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Wed Aug 22, 2012, 07:11 PM

 

Why boys' literacy skills lag behind girls' and how to bridge the reading gap

Janae and Joseph Wise's Washington state home is a shrine to their passion for reading.

"We have books everywhere," said Janae, a professional blogger, fitness instructor and mother of four young children. As young parents, the Wises built up an impressive home library. Exposing children to books, they assumed, would naturally lead them to love reading. It hasn't quite worked out that way.

"My boys just aren't that interested in reading," Janae Wise said. Her 7-year-old son Hyrum in particular has a difficult time sitting still long enough to finish a story. "I kept asking myself, 'Why doesn't he love reading?' I have to fight this urge I have to force him to read."

The Wises' experience is more than just an anecdotal narrative.

"Parents come into the library every day concerned that their boys aren't reading," said Linda Brilz, youth services supervisor at Boise Public Library in Idaho. But the problem is bigger than "not reading." Across the country and around the world studies show that young men lag behind their female peers in literacy skills by significant margins.

. . . .

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765592913/Many-working-to-bridge-wide-gender-reading-gap-in-the-US.html?pg=all

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There's some interesting speculation in there as to the cause of this discrepancy.

My dad read to me from a young age and got me in to reading for fun. And I'm very grateful for it.

I can't think of a single time since I learned to read in which I didn't have at least one book I was working on. It's sad to me that there are so many who see reading as a chore they can eventually be rid of once they get out of school. Sad and frankly this is going to cost us in the long run as it means we aren't fully utilizing all the available talent we have as a nation.

The fact that our schools are failing boys means at least half the population won't be performing at it's peak potential. That's a very concerning trend.

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Reply Why boys' literacy skills lag behind girls' and how to bridge the reading gap (Original post)
4th law of robotics Aug 2012 OP
Warren DeMontague Aug 2012 #1
lumberjack_jeff Aug 2012 #2
craichead65 Oct 2012 #3
lumberjack_jeff Oct 2012 #4
eek MD Oct 2012 #5
craichead65 Oct 2012 #6
Hemp_is_good Oct 2012 #26
lumberjack_jeff Oct 2012 #27
Hemp_is_good Oct 2012 #29
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #7
hnfpd Oct 2012 #30
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #32
idtev Oct 2012 #34
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #35
ithco Oct 2012 #36
hnfpd Oct 2012 #31
Mosby Oct 2012 #8
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #9
Mosby Oct 2012 #10
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #11
opiate69 Oct 2012 #12
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #13
opiate69 Oct 2012 #14
ZenLefty Oct 2012 #15
opiate69 Oct 2012 #16
ZenLefty Oct 2012 #22
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #17
ZenLefty Oct 2012 #23
opiate69 Oct 2012 #28
lumberjack_jeff Oct 2012 #25
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #33
Warren DeMontague Oct 2012 #18
opiate69 Oct 2012 #19
Warren DeMontague Oct 2012 #20
opiate69 Oct 2012 #21
lumberjack_jeff Oct 2012 #24
TreasonousBastard Oct 2012 #37

Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 08:25 PM

1. I think it depends on the kid.

I come from a long line of readers.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Thu Aug 23, 2012, 12:05 AM

2. The problem is bigger than simply the number of books they read.

Boys get the message from a young age that school isn't meant for them, and it is designed to be as unengaging as possible.

Studies have shown that if you put boys in all boys classrooms their scores (as well as the girls scores) improve.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 07:43 PM

3. I often wonder if it's content

I read a fair amount as a kid and tore through all those old Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. they were full of adventure, excitement and sometimes violence.

Ever read Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn? Same thing.

Today it's politically incorrect to write stories that boys would find exciting.

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Response to craichead65 (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 08:25 PM

4. Some truth to that... and welcome to DU. n/t

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Response to eek MD (Reply #5)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 08:47 PM

6. Didn't hurt that I grew up in the hills

I grew up in a tiny Adirondack town during the 1970's - Two TV stations on a clear day and nothing to do except ramble through the woods, read and other frivolous things like learning musical instruments.

Not nearly as many distractions as there are today.

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Response to craichead65 (Reply #6)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 07:44 PM

26. It's not JUST distraction it's content of material

 

if you look at young adult section of any book store, a great deal of it is marketed towards girls.
Remember when Harry potter came out?
Remember how EVERYONE , boys and girls couldn't stop reading it?
I do, it was during the boom. People gave a damn.
sadly a lot of what's out there is tripe.

it also doesn't help that reading is seen as "egg-head stuff" and with the amount of cyber bullying compounded with IRL bullying, it's really not a massive shock boys aren't reading much.

I also think it's an over compensation. since the 60's and especially since the 80's more and more emphasis has been on improving the lot of females (in itself a laudable goal, glad we're basically there as far as education) but it's been to the detriment if not abandonment of young men and boys.

FWIW I'm in favor of public boy-only and girls-only schools. it's been PROVEN that both genders excel when there isnt the distraction (or oppression) of the opposite sex.

but that may be a different topic

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Response to Hemp_is_good (Reply #26)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 08:14 PM

27. Welcome to DU

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #27)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 11:56 PM

29. thanks ^_^

 

n/t

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Response to craichead65 (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 12:00 PM

7. Yeah, we didn't have many books on the curriculum that appealed to young boys

 

Sorry but you are not going to win boys over with Pride and Prejudice.

If I didn't enjoy reading already and read extensively outside of school I certainly wouldn't have picked it up in school.

Anything portraying adventures, kids misbehaving, swearing, or even (gasp!) violence cannot be taught in school.

Books about feelings and relationships and scheming to find a husband are fine.

That should appeal equally to both boys and girls right? heh.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #7)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 04:06 AM

30. What a load of shit

 

girls hate Victorian snoozefests as much as the boys and want to read about adventures and misbehavior too. Even Little House on the Prairie was pretty action-packed.

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Response to hnfpd (Reply #30)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 01:21 PM

32. Sure thing bucko

 

that's why men and women read the exact same books when given the options, because our tastes are the same.

Comics (or graphic novels if you prefer) have as many women fans as men.

And romance novels do equally well with both genders.

Because men and women are exactly the same. Duh.

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Response to idtev (Reply #34)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 06:57 PM

35. Oh look, some long time member created a sock puppet

 

because they lacked the courage to attach their names to such a screed.

That's original.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Fri Oct 19, 2012, 04:44 PM

8. boys spend a lot of time playing video games

I think probably a lot more than girls.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #8)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 02:17 PM

9. Girls spend a lot of time playing with dolls

 

that's probably why they fall behind in math.

Yeah . . . that wouldn't pass muster here.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #9)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 01:07 PM

10. not a good comparison

Playing with dolls is a social activity, when girls play with dolls they create dialoge and story lines, including extensive back stories. Its a way to model and mimic adult behavior through play.

Video games by contrast are a passive activity that has virtually no social component and doesn't require the gamer to use his/her brain in any meaningful way.

Below I linked to an experiment that clearly shows the damage that video games cause in young children. They discovered that time spent playing these stupid games displaced other, more constructive activities like reading.

Of course, the fact that video games are irrationally vilified doesn’t mean that they are automatically harmless. There’s still a need for decent studies that assess their impact on behaviour. One such study has emerged from Denison University, where Robert Weis and Brittany Cerankosky have tested what happens when you give young boys, aged 6-9, a new video game system. 

They found that after 4 months, boys who had received the games had lower reading and writing scores than expected, failing to improve to the same degree as their console-less peers. They also faced more academic problems at school. At first this might seem like support for the rewired brains of Greenfield’s editorials, but the reality is much simpler – the games were displacing other after-school academic activities. While some children were finishing their homework or reading bedtime stories, those with games were mashing buttons.

There is much to like about Weis and Cerankosky’s study. For a start, it is a randomised controlled trial (RCT), one of the most reliable ways of finding out if something is truly causing a specific effect. Indeed, it is the first such trial looking into the effects of video games on the academic abilities and behaviour of young boys.


The duo recruited 64 lads who didn’t already have a video game system. Half of them – the experimental group – were randomly chosen to receive a Playstation 2 via their parents along with three all-ages games. The other half – the control group – remained without a console.  The parents were told that the study was designed to examine the boys’ development and that the video games were merely incentive for participation.

Four months later, Weis and Cerankosky caught up with the boys. They found that the budding gamers had significantly lower reading and writing scores than those who never received the PS2. In the intervening months, the control group became better at reading and writing, while the gamers stagnated or, if anything, became slightly worse. This didn’t escape the notice of their teachers, who said that they were showing more problems at school in reading, writing and spelling.


http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2010/02/23/trial-finds-that-video-games-hamper-reading-and-writing-skil/

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Response to Mosby (Reply #10)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 01:16 PM

11. That study found that not doing your homework led to

 

poorer performance.

If anyone is not doing their work then yes they will fall behind. Video games aren't magical in this regard. It could be sports or playing with your friends.


Playing with dolls is a social activity, when girls play with dolls they create dialoge and story lines, including extensive back stories. Its a way to model and mimic adult behavior through play.

Video games by contrast are a passive activity that has virtually no social component and doesn't require the gamer to use his/her brain in any meaningful way.


This is an opinion and your study doesn't back it.


On the plus side, the video games had no effect on the boys’ mathematical skills, their attention spans, their ability to concentrate, or their ability to adapt to new problems. Nor did the gamers’ parents report any problems with their behaviour.


Do you have any theory as to why girls tend to do worse on math than boys?

/perhaps if boys are failing to find an interest in reading it's because the books assigned don't really match what they are interested in. The closest thing would be Tom Sawyer and that was written about a world that no longer resonates with many people. I remember our assigned reading lists and let me tell you Pride and Prejudice just doesn't grab the interest of a lot of boys. Victorian women scheming to find a husband to take care of them is not something that will pique their interests.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #10)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 01:18 PM

12. You obviously don`t know about the video games my sons and I play..

MMORPGs, as well as PS3 games which have a focus on online co-operative gaming are, by their very nature, social games. And a large percentage of the newer games for home systems are putting tons of effort into making the online co-op play a major selling point. Also, many of the games we play have extensive puzzle solving and critical thinking aspects. And, seriously... a sampling size of 64??

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Response to opiate69 (Reply #12)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 01:19 PM

13. To be fair the population was much larger

 

but they had to remove hundreds of outliers that gave the wrong answer.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #13)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 01:20 PM

14. D`oh!!

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Response to opiate69 (Reply #12)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 02:41 PM

15. I've told my guild on more than one occasion...

World of Warcraft is just a glorified version of playing with dolls. We collect clothes, pets, mounts and accessories, both combat and non-combat, and show them off to our friends.

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Response to ZenLefty (Reply #15)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 02:47 PM

16. lol.. yep!

Dammit.. I need to get MoP and get back into it... had 7 raid-geared 85s when I stopped, but I heard the talent system got revamped -yet again.. my bad-ass shadow priests are probably weak as hell now

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Response to opiate69 (Reply #16)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 06:27 PM

22. With the March of the Pandas expansion, now we're playing with teddy bears.

I gave it up for Guild Wars 2, myself. Their dolls are more anatomically correct.

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Response to ZenLefty (Reply #15)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 04:11 PM

17. Stop that!

 

Video games are passive entertainment where boys/men go to forget how to read.

NOTHING MORE!

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #17)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 06:27 PM

23. I just wish they wouldn't stand in the fire.

Screw reading. Just don't stand in the fire! Geez.

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Response to ZenLefty (Reply #23)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 11:21 PM

28. "If it wasn't on the ground when you walked in the room, move out of it!"

Can't even begin to count how many times I heard my raid leader say that to pugs when we were trying to run ICC lol.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #10)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 07:22 PM

25. Better argument: lack of video games is to blame for girls poor science and math skill

Boys consistently get better SAT scores. Maybe it's the video games.



http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012046/index.asp

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #25)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 01:23 PM

33. No no, that's because we don't make special efforts to reach out to girls

 

and get them interested in math early on.

Boys fall behind because they're naturally stuipd, lazy, or distracted.

Girls fall behind because we're holding them back.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #8)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 04:49 PM

18. Oh FFS.

Talk about a lame argument.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #18)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 04:53 PM

19. I think someone needs to let the author of that "study" know...

video games have come a bit of a way from Pong and Pacman lol

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Response to opiate69 (Reply #19)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 04:57 PM

20. They produce Halotoxins which compound the effects of the erotoxins

So when the master chief masturbates, well.. You get the idea.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #20)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 05:09 PM

21. roflmao!

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #20)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 07:15 PM

24. "Halotoxins" LOL!

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 02:39 AM

37. My dad taught me to read, too, and I suspect that's part of the key...

Reading to me, and I suspect to you, was as normal as all that other little boy stuff like throwing a baseball that dads did with you back then. Now we throw kids into school unprepared for the basics and blame the schools when the kids don't catch up fast enough.

I don't want to defend too many of the attitudes back then, but some things just worked after centuries of adaptation. After dinner, when the girls followed Mom into the kitchen to help with cleanup, and maybe then into the sewing room (and the reading room) the boys were hanging out with Dad who wasn't watching the game, but had his work cut out for him teaching them the boy stuff. And reading was large part of it.

We don't seem to do that so much any more, even where there are two parent families, and kids are too often left to their own devices, which means they do the things they like, not what develops them.

Could the Asian kids' noticeable superiority at math have something to do with exposure to math at home in the early years?



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