Getting boys to read

Is the best way to teach boys to love reading by pandering to their tastes? (Like a book about all things gross: Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty.)

Is it by bribing them with video games?

Thomas Spence writes in the Wall Street Journal (9/24):

When I was a young boy, America’s elite schools and universities were almost entirely reserved for males. That seems incredible now, in an era when headlines suggest that boys are largely unfit for the classroom. In particular, they can’t read.

According to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, for example, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. This disparity goes back to 1992, and in some states the percentage of boys proficient in reading is now more than ten points below that of girls. The male-female reading gap is found in every socio-economic and ethnic category, including the children of white, college-educated parents.

The good news is that influential people have noticed this problem. The bad news is that many of them have perfectly awful ideas for solving it.

Read the rest here including a very good strategy for getting boys to read.

(Could the reading gap have more to do with competition for boys’ attention than with their supposed inability to focus on anything other than outhouse humor?)

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