Keeping Boys Engaged in Reading

Introduction | Background Knowledge | Activities | Extensions | Standards



We've all heard about boys. They are loud. They are active. They shout out answers. Their handwriting is a mess. They don't like to talk. They don't like school. They are better at math and science. They do not like to read. Boys are falling behind in education.

Research shows there are biological differences between how boys learn and how girls learn. Boys' brains develop more slowly than girls. Research shows that these differences are statistically insignificant. Studies show that girls are more self-disciplined than boys. Studies show that boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. The research is all over the place and can support a variety of positions.

Some people say that boys and girls should be separated for education. Critics say that both genders are more successful when girls are in the classroom.

Many parents will tell you that there is a huge difference between raising a boy and raising a girl.

How do you get boys interested in reading and keep them interested when so many other choices exist?

Back to Top

Background Knowledge

Surveys have reported that about 40% of elementary-aged boys read for pleasure almost every day. This data from 2020 shows a decrease from 2012. The number of middle and high school students decreases, with 17% of boys reporting that they read for pleasure almost daily. Those boys who report reading for pleasure are historically more successful on reading assessments such as the NAEP.

According to some research, girls learn to read more quickly than boys, but boys rapidly catch up with instruction. Girls also acquire language faster than boys, using complex sentences before their male counterparts. Boys are also more likely to be diagnosed with attention-related disabilities and are more likely to be identified for special education.

Back to Top


Back to Top


Back to Top

Correlation to Standards

  • AASL National School Library Standards
    • Inquire Shared Foundation, Think Domain - Learners display curiosity and initiative by: 1. Formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic. 2. Recalling prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning
    • Inquire Shared Foundation, Share Domain - Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes: 1. Interacting with content presented by others. 2. Providing constructive feedback. 3. Acting on feedback to improve. 4. Sharing products with an authentic audience.
    • Include Shared Foundation, Share Domain - Learners exhibit empathy with and tolerance for diverse ideas by: 1. Engaging in informed conversation and active debate. 2. Contributing to discussions in which multiple viewpoints on a topic are expressed.
    • Include Shared Foundation, Grow Domain - Learners demonstrate empathy and equity in knowledge building within the global learning community by: 1. Seeking interactions with a range of learners.
    • Collaborate Shared Foundation, Think Domain - Learners identify collaborative opportunities by: 1. Demonstrating their desire to broaden and deepen understandings. 2. Developing new understandings through engagement in a learning group. 3. Deciding to solve problems informed by group interaction.
    • Collaborate Shared Foundation, Create Domain - s Learners participate in personal, social, and intellectual networks by: 1. Using a variety of communication tools and resources. 2. Establishing connections with other learners to build on their own prior knowledge and create new knowledge.
    • Collaborate Shared Foundation, Grow Domain - Learners actively participate with others in learning situations by: 2. Recognizing learning as a social responsibility.
    • Explore Shared Foundation, Think Domain - Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by: 1. Reading widely and deeply in multiple formats and writing and creating for a variety of purposes.
    • Explore Shared Foundation, Create Domain - Learners construct new knowledge by: 1. Problem solving through cycles of design, implementation, and reflection.
    • Explore Shared Foundation, Share Domain - Learners engage with the learning community by: 3. Collaboratively identifying innovative solutions to a challenge or problem.
    • Explore Shared Foundation, Grow Domain - Learners develop through experience and reflection by: 1. Iteratively responding to challenges. 2. Recognizing capabilities and skills that can be developed, improved, and expanded. 3. Open-mindedly accepting feedback for positive and constructive growth.
  • ISTE Standards for Students
    • Empowered Learner - 1b. Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process. 1c. Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
    • Knowledge Constructor - 3d. Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories, and pursuing answers and solutions.
    • Innovative Designer - 4d. Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance, and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.
    • Global Collaborator - 7c. Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.

Back to Top

Back to Help I Lost My Library/Media Specialist