Friday, August 8, 2008

Boys’ Literary Depth “an Abiding Concern”

According to an online story in The Wall Street Journal:

Boys have persistently lagged behind girls in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an influential federal test for gauging achievement. The gap widens by the time they reach 12th grade. … As adults, females also outscore males on literacy exams, and continue to read more.
In an attempt to combat the problem, some publishers are producing raunchier books, such as “Help! What's Eating My Flesh: Runaway Staph and Strep Infections!” This book includes color pictures of putrefying limbs and the warning that “sometimes, relatively harmless bacteria can turn into a gruesome killer.”

1 comment:

rjnagle said...

It's a different kind of literacy.

Among elementary school boys Captain Underpants is phenomenally popular. (the guy's website is very fun). But generally, the only thing boys care about are game-generated stories. A book about how to improve your score on Lego Star Wars would be a bestseller. Also, when stories are fused with devices, wonderful things occur.

In the ebook world (where I reside), the majority of the community is male (hey, look at this cool ebook I can read on my pda!). It's a good combination.

A reading professor made the argument that boys and girls read for different reasons. Boys seek information and "lore" about a topic. They have a functional motivation; girls read more for self-expression and insight.