This article is the first in a series that summarizes and reflects upon the Ontario Ministry of Education 2009 document Me Read? And How!
14 Reading Strategies
Boys’ literacy has been a growing concern over the course of my 15 year career, and as a mother of three boys, I share the concern regarding boys’ literacy test results (EQAO Grade 10 Literacy Test in Ontario), English grades, and general disengagement with traditional print literacy. In addition to having three boys who I want to perform well academically, I also teach a great number of boys who have decided they will dislike English class before they even cross the threshold of my classroom.
I read the Ontario Ministry of Education document Me Read? No Way when it was published in 2004, and it shed light on why girls were out-performing boys in traditional literacies and gave 13 strategies to improve boys’ literacy.
As a result, the Ontario Ministry of Education initiated pilot projects all over the province to try and implement these strategies, and then produced a follow up document in 2009 which I’m currently reading titled Me Read? And How.
This new publication first summarizes the results of current literacy and gender research in Canada, Britain, and Australia. Regardless of geographical location, girls are out-performing boys in traditional literacies and testing, are more interested in conventional print-based literacy, and are not questioning the relevance of their school work; however, boys are showing greater interest in electronic and graphic forms of literacy, are willing to engage in verbal literacy, and are more interested in “real-life” literacy contexts and practices. Next, this publication outlines the 13 strategies with best practices for literacy regardless of whether the student is male or female. The main purpose of this initiative is to provide equitable literacy education for both boys and girls.
When students were asked what they wanted in terms of their literacy education, there were four criteria that were commonly cited; they want to be challenged to think, allowed to create, permitted to pursue their interests and goals, and made to feel respected and important.
The 14 Literacy Strategies
- Have the right stuff–Choosing and promoting appropriate classroom resources for boys
- Help make it a habit—Providing frequent opportunities to read and write
- Teach with purpose—Understanding boys’ learning styles
- Embrace the arts—Using the arts to bring literacy to life
- Let them talk—Appealing to boys’ need for social interaction and talk
- Find positive role models—Influencing boys’ attitudes through the use of role models
- Read between the lines—Bringing critical-literacy skills in the classroom
- Keep it real—Making reading and writing relevant to boys
- Get the Net—Using technology to engage boys and facilitate their learning
- Assess for success—Using appropriate assessment tools for boys
- Be in their corner—The role of the teacher in boys’ literacy
- Drive the point home—Engaging parents in boys’ literacy
- Build a school-wide focus—Building literacy beyond the classroom
An additional, 14th strategy was initiated: Split them up—Using single-sex groupings
This article is the first in a series that will summarize and reflect upon the Ontario Ministry of Education 2009 document Me Read? And How!
Next Boys’ Literacy Strategy: #1 – Have the Right Stuff
This article by Kelly Pauling in Pennsylvania, USA about the National Assessment of Educational Progress, highlights reading scores by gender and outlines differences in achievement, attitude, choice and response: “Boys and Reading.”
This anti-poster titled “13 Ways to Create a Non-Reader” created by Dean Schneider and Robin Smith (as published in The Horn Book Inc.) outlines the 13 ways a parent can ensure their child(ren) will not be good readers who enjoy reading!
This article by Ian Synder on his blog A Teacher’s Thoughts is a guide for getting elementary kids reading.
This web diagram recommended by the New York Times outlines the demands on the new digital reader.