If you’re the parent of boys, you should be aware there is an alarming reading gap between boys and girls. More boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. Apparently, girls in EVERY socio-economic and ethnic group, including children of middle-class, college-educated parents, score higher than boys.
Why this literacy gap between boys and girls? According to Thomas Spence in “How to Raise Boys Who Read” in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, this boy-girl literacy gap coincides with the exponential growth of video games and other electronic entertainment over the last decade.
Researchers found that boys spend far more time plugged in to electronic media than girls do. “Boys with video games at home spend more time playing them than reading and their academic performance suffers substantially,” Spence says. If you’re the parent of a boy, you may have experienced this. The author cautions parents to “keep electronic media, especially video games and recreational Internet under control (that is to say, almost completely absent). Then fill your shelves with good books.” Deprived of electronic stimulation, boys may actually pick up a book.
Spence concludes by stating: “There is no literacy gap between home-schooled boys and girls.” Might it be these homes expose their children to little or no electronic media or at least keep it under control? Might it be that parents of home-schooled children place a high value on literacy and do all they can to ensure their children – boys and girls – become proficient readers? Many home-school parents often make great financial sacrifices to educate their children. Home-school families have less money to fill their homes with video games but I believe home-school parents have less desire to do so as they are the hands-on educators of their children. Why would they want video games and the like compete with the educational goals set forth in their homes? Then, of course, there is more parent-child interacftion in a homsechool family.
Parents are their child’s first and primary teacher. If they fill their home with junk, children will suffer. This goy-girl literacy gap can not be blamed on teachers. They are not the ones buying the videos or failing to keep electronic entertaiment under control. Parents are failing to fulfill their parental responsibilities.What do you do as a parent to promote reading in your home? I’d like to hear from you.
To read The Wall Street Journal article in its entirety, go to: online.wsj.com/…/SB10001424052748704271804575405511702112290.html