Brozo2011. Boys' Reading, Writing, and Learning:10 Empirically Observable Phenomena6. Boys make up 70% of reading disabled and labeled students (e.g., 4 times more likely to have ADHD diagnosis than girls)7. Boys are 50% more likely than girls to be retained at least one grade8. Boys c
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2. 1. Boys score significantly lower than girls on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in both reading and writing; and on every state-level reading achievement test
2. Boys around the world score less well than girls in reading and writing (PISA/PIRLS) and have lower motivation to read and write than their female counterparts
3. Far more boys from the same socio-economic group as girls score Below Basic on NAEP
4. By 4th grade the average American boy is two years behind the average girl in reading and writing
5. Boys read less quantity and less for enjoyment than girls
Brozo2011 Boys’ Reading, Writing, and Learning: 10 Empirically Observable Phenomena 2
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6. History For as long as there have been schools, there have been boys who would rather be elsewhere:
And then the whining schoolboy with his satchel and shiny morning face creeping like a snail unwillingly to school. (Jacquis in Shakespeare’s As You Like It) 6 Brozo2011
7. History Gender differences in reading favoring girls was evident as soon as such comparisons could be made (Herman, 1973; Holbrook, 1988; Samuel, 1943)
Gates’ landmark study of 13,000 elementary school children in 1961 popularized the idea of female reading superiority
Curiously, at the same time in Germany in the 1960s, when most elementary teachers were male, boys demonstrated superior reading achievement over girls (Preston, 1962) 7 Brozo2011
8. Current Trends Gender differences in reading have become engrained in popular consciousness
News media encourage “crisis” mentality
Popular press books continue to be written (e.g., Richard Whitmire’s Why Boys Fail; Peg Tyre’s The Trouble with Boys)
Major reports reinforce achievement differences (e.g., Center on Education Policy, 2010)
Shift from establishing the gender differences in achievement to explaining them and developing interventions for boys
9. Gender-Based Reading Achievement Center on Education Policy Report (2010) - Are There Differences in Achievement between Boys and Girls?
Evidence from high stakes tests for every state in the United States that boys are failing to reach the proficient level of reading at rates significantly lower than girls.
10. What does the literature say about the achievement gap? A meta-analysis of 139 studies demonstrates a significant reading achievement gap in favor of adolescent girls over adolescent boys (Lietz, 2006).
The gap was more pronounced for NAEP in the United States, and for the Program for International Student Assessment conducted by the OECD
Variables such as age or whether or not English was the language of test administration did not emerge as factors that had an impact on gender differences
11. What does the literature say about gendered preferences and practices? Female students consistently read more than male students from primary education to higher education (Blackwood, Flowers, Rogers, & Staik; 1991; Hall & Coles, 1997; Gambell & Hunter, 2000; Greaney & Hegarty, 1987; Millard, 1997; Moffitt & Wartella, 1992; Simpson, 1996; Watkins & Edwards, 1992; Whitehead, Capey, & Maddren, 1974)
12. What does the literature say about gendered preferences and practices? Girls read more books about relationships and romance, while boys read more science fiction and fantasy, sports-related books, and war and spy stories.
More females than males read for enjoyment outside of school, while males were more apt to read for information or to learn how to do something.
Boys’ literacy choices tend to give greater emphasis to taking information from the text rather than analyzing motivation or characterization (Coles and Hall, 2001)
If school definitions of literacy were broadened to embrace the kinds of texts that boys prefer, boys would be more motivated to read and learn.
13. What does the literature say about gendered preferences and practices? 54% of 1,340 male students in grades 5 through 8 at an urban middle school in a large northeastern city ranked comics as the favorite leisure reading choice (Hughes-Hassell and Rodge, 2007) Brozo2011 13
14. Choice of Reading Material
Boys’ preferred genres may not find their way into classrooms or library shelves because teachers are predominantly female and teachers’ own reading preferences are reflected in the books they select for their students (Bauerlein & Stotsky, 2005; Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999) Brozo2011 14
15. Reading as a Gendered Activity Boys frequently view reading as a feminine activity and this can reduce their motivation to read (Dutro, 2002; Tenenbaum & Leaper, 2002)
Boys who view reading as a feminine activity tend to have formed this perception at a very early age (Brozo, 2010) Brozo2011 15
16. Debbie Zambo & Bill Brozo, International Reading Association, 2009 Brozo2011 16
17. “Failing to meet the literacy needs of all young boys isn’t so much a crisis as it is an imperative educational challenge. And it is also a challenge to address a glaring social justice issue, because those who struggle most to learn how to read, who dominate remedial reading classes and programs, and who will suffer disproportionately as adults if they fail to become competent readers are boys of color.”
From Bright Beginnings for Boys Brozo2011 17
18. “Furthermore, concerns about boys’ reading attitudes and achievement should be framed around more responsive literacy instruction and interactions for all children. Boys need to be engaged and capable readers not solely to be as good as or better than girls, but to increase their educational, occupational, and civic opportunities and, above all, to become thoughtful and resourceful men.”
From Bright Beginnings for Boys Brozo2011 18
19. 2nd Edition of To be a Boy, To be a Reader: Engaging Teen and Preteen Boys in Active Literacy Brozo2011 19
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23. Brozo2010 23 Reading Performance and Socio-Economic Background by Level of Reading Engagement on PISA
24. Brozo2011 24 Effective and Motivating Pedagogy for Boys A good relationship between student and teacher
The teacher’s enjoyment of teaching
Providing choices and input into the lesson
Making schoolwork interesting, relevant, and providing variety in content
Respecting opinions and perspectives
Martin, A.J. (2003). Boys and motivation. The Australian Educational Researcher, 30, 43-65.
25. Brozo2011 25 Motivating Literacy Contexts for Boys Reading Matched with Interests and Experiences
Social, Collaborative, Challenging Environment
Agency over Text Choice
Functional Purposes for Reading (e.g., Read joke book to tell jokes; Read magic book to perform magic; Read how-to books to make something)
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28. Brozo2011 28 1. Match Reading Material to Outside-of-School Interests
Boys Book Clubs
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30. Brozo2011 30 “My Bag” * A Strategy That Allows The Teacher to Get to Know
Students in an Interesting and Fun Way
* Students Gather Emblems, Symbols, and Other Items
That Represent Who They Are; Their Interests, Hobbies,
Loves, Relationships, etc.
* Emblems Often Include Photographs, Memorabilia,
Souvenirs, Toys, etc.
* Items Are Placed in a Bag or Backpack and Shared
With Classmates in Small Groups and the Teacher
* Students May Also Create an Illustrated My Bag (see next slide)
* Students Should Provide a Written List of Items and
a Brief Statement About Each Item’s Significance
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36. Actual Boys Book Clubs He-Man Book Club – Kalispell, MT
Club BILI – Alexandria, VA
Books and Balls – California
Boys, Books, and Blokes – Australia
Guys Read – Fairbanks, AK Brozo2011 36
37. 37 My Participation in a Boys Book Club The study grew out of my participation as an electronic member of an all-boys book club
Ann, the reading teacher, found she had eight seventh-grade boys in one of her 45 minute remedial classes.
In her search for ideas and suggestions that would help her improve the boys’ reading skills and attitudes, she came upon my work with boys and literacy
38. 38 The Boys Book Club Ann wrote me in early September of 2003 asking for suggestions and ideas; I was living in Knoxville, Tennessee
In planning with Ann it was decided that a book club context for the class could increase the boys’ participation in their own literacy development
She and the boys invited me to join the club, which was officially formed in October 2003
39. 39 The Boys Book Club Book Club Members included Nara, Colin, Ricardo, Jaimi, Michael, Renard, Tony and Esteban
All were youth of color in a school with an ethnic mix to the overall school population: 46% Hispanic American; 22% African American; 22% Euro American; and 9% Asian American. Brozo2011
40. “Renard” Brozo2011 40
41. “Tony” Brozo2011 41
42. “Estaban” Brozo2011 42
43. 43 Context and Method My participation spanned seven months from October to May, 2003-04
The eight students along with their teacher read various culturally relevant texts and engaged in culturally informed practices
44. 44 Examples of Culturally Relevant Texts
Scorpions (Walter Dean Myers)
Trino’s Choice (Diane Gonzalez Bertrand)
The Watson’s Go to Birmingham—1963 (Christopher Paul Curtis)
45. 45 Examples of Culturally Informed Practices Member-Centered
– Reading material was selected based on
boys’ interests and approval
--Boys’ helped generate and were given choice of
response options to material read
Sample Activities in Response to Books:
Exploration of violence by male youth within book club members’ neighborhoods and community
Exploration of gangs in club members’ neighborhoods and community
Celebration of members’ family histories Brozo2011
46. Major Findings Boys were more engaged in book club than in regular reading class
Boys attitudes toward reading improved
Boys developed healthier understanding of masculinity
Six of the eight boys passed the reading portion of the state test that spring Brozo2011 46
47. Brozo2011 47 2. Bridge Competencies with Familiar Texts to Academic Literacy
By eliminating barriers between students’ competencies with outside-of-school texts and classroom practices it is possible to increase engagement in learning and expand literacy abilities for striving readers (Sturtevant, Boyd, Brozo, Hinchman, Alvermann, & Moore, 2006).
Take advantage of boys’ relative strengths with language and literacy outside of school
Boys may enjoy computer and video games
Boys may enjoy reading comic books and graphic novels
Boys may enjoy reading magazines related to their hobbies (skateboarding, collecting, sports)
Boys may enjoy listening to music and reading song lyrics
48. Popular Music as Context for Learning and Using New Vocabulary With the American rapper Snoop Dogg’s lyrics for “I Love to Give You Light” a 7th grade class of mostly boys found numerous examples of words with /ck/ and /ch/ blends. These words were written into a t-chart in their vocabulary notebooks.
child 48 Brozo2011
49. Popular Music as Context for Learning and Using New Vocabulary The students worked with a partner to think of new words with the /ch/ and /ck/ sounds and add them to the t-chart.
Student pairs then wrote their own rap lyrics that contained all or some of the new words they generated for the two word families.
As one student read the rap the other kept rhythm on his desk top: 49 Brozo2011
50. Popular Computer/Video Games as Context for Learning With students’ interest and experience in playing a Star Wars video game, a 6th grade teacher taught science vocabulary related to space. Words from the game were written into the chart and their vocabulary notebooks. Her boys loved this!
Star Wars Words Your Definition Dictionary
galaxy -the stars and planets -a cluster of stars, nebulae, planets
meteor -a rock from space -small matter in the solar system
planets -like the earth -a body that revolves around the sun
space station -a station that floats in space
booster rockets -help the ship go faster
51. Popular Computer/Video Games as Context for Learning The students worked with a partner to write their own Star Wars story using the words in context. One pair of students wrote:
Luke Skywalker sat in a space station. It was in our galaxy. He was going to set off the booster rockets so he could travel to a planet. The planet was going to be hit by a meteor and Luke had to save it. 51 Brozo2011
52. Brozo2011 52 3. Form Cross-Age Tutoring Partnerships and Use Community Mentors as Reading Buddies
“THE MOST POTENT BENEFIT OF SUCH A PROGRAM (CROSS-AGE TUTORING PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM) IS
THAT IT IMBUES STRUGGLING READERS WITH A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY AND PURPOSE FOR IMPROVINGTHEIR OWN ABILITIES”
--BROZO & HARGIS, JAAL, September 2003
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54. Reading Buddies 17-year-old Tremayne & 2nd grader LaBron in a cross-age tutoring program
Read about and researched Chicago Bears football
Led to performance enhancement drugs, steriods
Explored the exaggeratedly muscled heroes and villains in computer games, such as True Crime: Streets of LA (Activision), WWF Wrestlemania (THQ), Take No Prisoners (Red Orb), The Hulk (Vivendi-Universal), Army Men: Sarge's Heroes (3DO), and X-Men: Mutant Academy (Activision). . Brozo2011 54
55. Reading Buddies Pictures were then downloaded into Adobe Photoshop so they could be altered
Tremayne and LaBron learned how to rework the main characters' physiques, reshaping them in ways that were more proportional to normal muscle development
They displayed their work in a PowerPoint presentation with "before" slides, accompanied by captions warning of the dangers of steroids and other illegal substances for building muscle, and "after" slides with statements about good health, diet, and fitness Brozo2011 55
56. Gender- and cultural-matched role models have the most positive effect on educational outcomes (Zirkel, 2002) and are sorely needed in the lives of many boys (Brozo, 2011)
Men who are active readers can work one-on-one or participate in boys book clubs Brozo2011 Community Mentors as Reading Buddies for Boys 56
57. One mentoring pair included Rickey, a recently retired Naval pilot and instructor, and Marcus, a 11-year-old fifth-grader with a reading achievement level of 3rd grade and a special education label
Built fluency with the book The House that Crack Built
Read the novel Monster and role played scenes
Wrote letters to Congressmen urging them not to support legislation to make the death penalty an option for minors found guilty of capital murder Brozo2011 Community Mentors as Reading Buddies for Boys 57
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Expose Boys to Texts with Positive Male Values and Archetypes
59. Books with Positive Male Values Imbue young boys with images and models of positive male values while at the same time capture their imaginations with print and engage them as readers.
Help boys envision ways of being male that are different from the stereotypic images of masculinity that saturate popular media and culture in society
Help boys incorporate thoughtful and competent reading into their burgeoning male identities
60. Children’s Books with Positive Male Values Respectfulness -Alley Oops (Levy, J. 2005)
Responsibility - Just a Dream (Van Allsburg, 2002)
Honesty - The Empty Pot (Demi, 1996)
Courage - More Than Anything Else (Bradby, 1995)
61. Children’s Books with Positive Male Values Cooperation - Elephant on my Roof (Harris, 2006)
Tolerance - Teammates (Golenback, 1992)
Generosity - Sam and the Lucky Money (Chinn, 1997)
Perseverance - Leonardo’s Dream (de Beer, 2004)
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63. 63 Brozo2010
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65. Brozo2011 65 “Magician”
66. Brozo2011 66 “Wildman”
67. Brozo2011 67 “Healer”
68. Brozo2011 68 “Trickster”
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70. Dr. Bill Brozo’s Resources Content Literacy for Today’s Adolescents: Honoring Diversity and Building Competence, Pearson
RTI and the Adolescent Reader: Responsive Literacy Instruction in Secondary Schools, Teachers College Press/International Reading Assoc
Adolescent Literacy Inventory, Pearson
50 Content Area Strategies for Adolescent Literacy, Pearson
50 Instructional Routines to Develop Content Literacy, Pearson
Principled Practices for Adolescent Literacy: A Framework for Instruction and Policy, Erlbaum
To be a Boy, To be a Reader: Engaging Teen and Preteen Boys in Active Literacy, International Reading Association
Bright Beginnings for Boys: Engaging Young Boys in Active Literacy, International Reading Association
Supporting Content Area Literacy with Technology: Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners, Pearson
Boys are our hope for the future,
But you are their hope today.
Thank you! 71 Brozo2011
72. References GATES, A. (1961). Sex differences in reading ability. Elementary School Journal, 61, 431-434.
HERMAN, M. (1975). Male-female learning achievement in eight learning areas. Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States.
HOLBROOK, H.T. (1988). Sex differences in reading: Nature or nurture? Journal of Reading, 32, 574-576.
JOHNSON, D.D. (1973). Sex differences in reading across cultures. Reading Research Quarterly, 9, 67-85.
LABERCANE, G., & SHAPIRO, J. (1986). Gender differences in reading: Sociocultural versus neurological influences. Reading Improvement, 23, 82-89.
PRESTON, R.C. (1962). Reading achievement in German and American children. School and Society, 90, 250-354.
SAMUELS, F. (1943). Sex differences in reading achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 36, 594-603.
73. References Bauerlein, M. & Stotsky, S. (2005, January). Why Johnny Won’t Read. [Electronic Version] Washington Post Retrieved November 12, 2010 from
Blackwood, C., Flowers, S. S., Rogers, J. S., & Staik, I. M. (1991). Pleasure reading by college students: Fact or fiction? Paper presented at the Mid-South Educational Research Association Conference, Lexington, KY.
Brozo, W. G. (2010). To be a boy, to be a reader (2nd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Cavazos-Kottke, S. (2005). Turned out but turned on: Boys’ (dis)engaged reading in and out of school. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49(3), 180-184.
Coles, M., & Hall, C. (2001). Boys, books and breaking boundaries: Developing literacy in and out of school. In W. Martino & B. Meyenn (Eds.), What about the boys? Issues of masculinity in schools. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.
Coles, M. & Hall, C. (2002). Gendered reading: learning from children’s reading choices. Journal of Research in Reading, 25(1), 96-108.
Gambell, T., & Hunter, D. (2000). Surveying gender differences in Canadian school literacy. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32(5), 689-719.
Greaney, V. (1980). Factors related to the amount and type of leisure reading. Reading Research Quarterly, 15(3), 337-357.
74. References Greaney, V., & Hegarty, M. (1987). Correlates of leisure-time reading. Journal of Research in Reading, 10(1), 3-12.
Hall, C., & Coles, M. (1997). Gendered readings: Helping boys develop as critical readers. Gender & Education, 9(1), 61-68.
Hughes-Hassell, S., & Rodge, P. (2007). The leisure reading habits of urban adolescents. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 51(1), 22-33.
Jacobs, D. (2007). More than words: Comics as a means of teaching multiple literacies. English Journal, 96(3), 19-25.
Knoble, M., & Lankshear, C. (2008). Remix: The art and craft of endless hybridization. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 52(1), 22-33.
Leitz, P. (2006). A meta-analysis of gender differences in reading
Achievement at the secondary school level. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 32, 317-344.
Lenters, K. (2007). From storybooks to games, comics, bands, and chapter books: A young boy's appropriation of literacy practices. Canadian Journal of Education, 30(1), 113-136.
75. References Lin, W. P. (2000). Taiwanese children’s reading interest. National Tai-Tung Teachers’ College Publishing.
Millard, E. (1997). Differently literate: Gender identity and the construction of the developing readers. Gender & Education, 9(1), 31-48.
Moffitt, M. A. S., & Wartella, E. (1992). Youth and reading: A survey of leisure reading pursuits of female
Millard, E. (1997). Differently literate: Gender identity and the construction of the developing readers. Gender & Education, 9(1), 31-48.
Moffitt, M. A. S., & Wartella, E. (1992). Youth and reading: A survey of leisure reading pursuits of female and male adolescents. Reading Research and Instruction, 31(2), 1-17.
Mok, J. & Cheung, S. (2004). Book reading culture of youth in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.
Simpson, A. (1996). Fictions and facts: An investigation of the reading practices of girls and boys. English Education, 28(4),268-279.
Skaliotis, M. (2002). Key figures on cultural participation in the European Union. International Symposium on Culture Studies, EUROSTAT, Luxemburg. Brozo2011 75
76. References Smith, M., & Wilhelm, J. (2002). “Reading don’t fix no Chevys”: Literacy in the lives of young men. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
St. Jarre, K. R. (2008). Don’t blame the boys: We’re giving them girly books. English Journal, 97(3), 15-16.
Taylor, D. L. (2005). “Not just boring stories”: Reconsidering the gender gap for boys. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 48(4), 290-298.
Watkins, M. W., & Edwards, V. A. (1992). Extracurricular reading and reading achievement: The rich stay rich and the poor don’t read. Reading Improvement, 29(4), 236-42.
Whitehead, F., Capey, A. C., & Maddren, W. (1974). Children’s reading interests. London: Evans/Methuen Educational
Worthy, J. (1998). “On every page someone gets killed!” Book conversations you don’t hear in school. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 41(7), 508-517.
Worthy, J., Moorman, M., & Turner, M. (1999). What Johnny likes to read is hard to find in school. Reading Research Quarterly, 34(1), 12-25.
77. References Fashola, O. (Ed.). (2005). Educating African-American males: Voices from the field.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Noguera, P. A. (2008). The trouble with Black boys: And other reflections on race,
equity, and the future of public education. New York: Jossey-Bass. Brozo2011 77