Thursday, July 20, 2006

Homeschooling Closes "Literacy Gap"

Here's an interesting article about the growing disparity between boys' and girls' performance in school, particularly when it comes to literacy.

Researcher Judith Kleinfeld of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks has discovered something striking: although it's an issue in schools, there is no boy-girl "literacy gap" among homeschooled children.

One of her theories:

"In school, teachers emphasize reading literature and talking about character and feelings. This way of teaching reading does not turn boys on. Boys prefer reading nonfiction, such as history and adventure books. When they are taught at home, parents are more likely to let them follow their interests."

She sure describes my oldest son. He has preferred nonfiction from the time he was a toddler (preferred topic at that age: construction). He enjoys reading about WWII, baseball, and NASCAR; when he does read fiction he prefers adventures such as SAVAGE SAM or THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. When discussing books, he much prefers to talk about what people do rather than what they feel; he loves to discuss action, interesting facts (today: "Did you know Darrell Waltrip has an 18-inch plate in his leg, Mom?"), or funny anecdotes, though we do delve into character and motivation in his literature curriculum.

My younger son finds fiction a little more interesting, but is happiest when reading about United States Presidents, especially Teddy Roosevelt or George Washington. :) He has quite a memory for dates.

Kleinfeld will be publishing her research; I'll be awaiting it with interest.

(Hat tip: Spunky Homeschool.)


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