Friday, 19 October 2012

Boys and reading

I love this picture I took in the library at Oxford Gardens Primary School. These boys got huge pleasure from sharing their puzzle book.

I really enjoyed giving a course on boys and reading at key stages 2 and 3 at Heath Books on Wednesday. We had primary and secondary literacy coordinators and English teachers, class teachers, school librarians and TAs from maintained and state schools. There was lots of sharing of experience and ideas, and fabulous discussions, about why so many more boys than girls are reluctant to read, ways to motivate them, and resources to change attitudes. These were some of the key things that emerged as making a difference to boys:

•  making reading enjoyable
•  acknowledging and valuing the reading boys already do
•  giving boys more choice of reading matter
•  promoting reading across all curriculum subjects
•  making reading more purposeful
•  making reading more active and participatory
•  games, quizzes, competitions and reading challenges
•  paired and shared reading
•  using the library effectively
•  reading aloud and modelling being a reader
•  male role models
•  involving the family, especially fathers and other male relatives
•  harnessing peer recommendation
•  up-to-date, attractive books on topics that interest boys
•  using whole books rather than extracts
•  the value of non-fiction
•  books that do not have to be read cover-to-cover
•  using ICT and e-books to attract boys to reading
•  the value of magazines, comics and newspapers

It was wonderful to be surrounded by fabulous books. One of the highlights of the day was when small groups explored a range of boy-friendly titles, and discussed ways to exploit them. They came up with wonderful cross-curricular plans.

A big thank you to Heath Books for providing the books and the venue, and to all the great delegates.