Monday, June 6, 2011

The Reading Gap between Boys and Girls

Boys lag far behind girls in reading proficiency. Test scores – in Hillsborough County as well as Florida and the nation – confirm the disparity. Girls are more proficient in reading than boys at all grade levels.

The gap, which is as wide as ten percentage points, is widest in fourth and fifth grades when reading shifts from basic skills to more complex subject matter.

Boys also outnumber girls in remedial reading classes and summer reading camps. Educators have long recognized that boys and girls learn differently and new brain research has convinced some that more consideration should be given to the findings.

Girls’ left brains tend to develop more quickly than boys’ left brains, which enable girls to actually do the writing, fine motor skills, hear better and sit in their seats longer. Boys’ right brains (responsible for spatial and visual motor skills) develop faster than girls’ right brains. Educators say it is critical for children – both boys and girls – to see adults read and to have books read to young children often.

Speaking of adults . . . one in four adults (27%) say they read NO books in the past year, according to an Associated Press–Ipsos poll. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid readers. The typical reader claimed to have read four books in the past year.

Who are the 27% of people found to have not read a single book in the past year? Nearly a third of men and a quarter of women fit that category. They tend to be less-educated, lower-income, minorities and from rural areas. Among those who said they had read books, the median figure was nine books for women and five for men. The poll also indicated that those with college degrees read the most and people age 50 and older read more than those who are younger. Read a book this week!

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