web analytics
April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Boys And Reading: How Yoni Can Read


Schonfeld-logo1

Share Button

In the 1950’s, bestselling author Rudolf Flesch offered to give a friend’s son, who was a struggling reader, some help with reading. He soon discovered that the problem did not lie in the boy’s intelligence, but rather in the way that reading was taught to him in school. To set out his reading principles, Flesch wrote a now famous book entitled, Why Johnny Can’t Read – and What You Can Do About It. In it, Flesch outlined the basic approach of phonics, an effective and important manner of teaching reading.

More interesting today, perhaps, is Flesch’s title. The focus on a male student was telling then and continues to be important today. According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) in 2001, fourth-grade girls in all of the 30-plus participating countries scored higher in reading literacy than fourth-grade boys by a statistically significant amount. In addition, according to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test.

Accounting For The Reading Gap

Why is there such a large gap between girls and boys when it comes to reading? There are several theories:

Girls begin school with a larger vocabulary. Studies have shown that on a normal day, girls use 30% more words than boys their age. Simply because girls speak more, they are more comfortable with language. Then, when it comes to reading, they are more likely to synthesize new words into their everyday speech. This in turn will make their future reading more proficient.

The subject matter is tailored towards women. Because many teachers are female and because mothers are often the ones helping children pick out their books, the subject matter of the reading tends to appeal to female audiences. Most boys would like to read about characters who are similar to them, but are often presented with books that have characters they cannot identify with.

Boys’ brains might be wired for non-fiction. While girls are great at comprehending narrative texts and expository style, studies have shown that boys prefer informational texts and newspapers. Teachers often devalue these non-fiction texts – prompting boys to feel that they are not “reading” when they pick up a newspaper. This only discourages them from reading in the future.

Girls enter school with better fine motor skills. Biologically, girls often gain fine motor skills essential for writing at an earlier age than boys. While the girls quickly figure out how to write, the boys struggle with the same tasks. This struggle with writing can often lead boys to feel that they are “not good” at reading or writing and therefore will not try to succeed in the future.

Filling The Reading Gap

Why do we care so much about reading? Why is it important to get our boys reading to their greatest potential? Reading is the most important skill people can use to enhance their intelligence. Through reading, people improve their vocabularies and memories, become better writers, and even relieve stress. On a more practical level, literacy levels are correlated with financial success. In sum, we need to ensure that our boys are reading because their lives will be more fulfilling, relaxed, and comfortable.

Therefore, how can we help boys learn to read? Below are some time-tested solutions:

Instruction tailored to boys’ learning style. Teachers should create lessons that have clear, structured instruction with short bursts of intense work. When teachers set specific goals and praise the boys for their success, they will be more likely to push themselves in the future. In addition, hands-on learning models coupled with a sense of humor are great tools for getting boys involved in reading.

Role models. Young boys need to see male role models who are reading. Remember, any text is reading – including fathers and studying Gemara after Shabbos lunch or reading the newspaper on a weekday morning. The idea is that boys see their fathers reading and understand that this is an activity that is valued by both male and female role models.

Appealing subject matter. Allow your sons to choose their own books (within limits, of course). If they are interested in cars and baseball, do not steer them towards a story about penguins. They will be more likely to read if they are interested in what they are reading.

Field trips related to reading. Hands-on learning is often the best type of instruction. If your child is in the middle of book about space travel, consider planning a trip to the American Museum of Natural History’s Planetarium. Once he has finished reading the book, he will be enthralled by the way that his literary knowledge matches a real world event. This will encourage him to continue reading in the future.

Boys And ADHD

Another, often less discussed issue with boys’ reading is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We all know that reading takes concentration, without it you can’t get to the end of a sentence. What many people don’t realize is that while ADHD is a common behavioral disorder that affects between 8-10% of school age children, boys are three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Of course, only a tiny fraction of boys have ADHD, but this fraction is significantly larger than the fraction of girls that have ADHD. This can also account for the differences in proficiency in boys’ and girls’ reading scores. Therefore, if you notice that your son is unable to focus, is easily distracted, and often fidgets, consider getting him tested for ADHD. His lack of reading skills could be attributed to a surmountable learning disability.

No part of society – parents, teachers, librarians, community members – wants to see boys subsist on a lifetime of reading deficits, especially as more and more jobs require higher levels of literacy. So, let’s work together to help our boys read to their fullest potential!

Share Button

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Boys And Reading: How Yoni Can Read”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Mock Eviction Notice shoved under the doors of students' rooms in predominantly Jewish NYU dorm by NYU SJP.
NYU Latest Site of Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Notices
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Schonfeld-logo1

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

The key to kindness and acceptance is empathy. A lot of people argue that you cannot teach empathy. While I agree that it is difficult to teach empathy, I believe it is possible.

By multiple intelligences, we mean that people have different intelligences in different areas.

Explosiveness is not confined to a type or a gender. It comes in male and female children, and in all ages, shapes and sizes. Some blow up dozens of times a day, others just a few times a week. Some “lose it” only at home, others only in school, and still others in any conceivable location.

The truth is that you never know what’s going on in a house until you live in it.

Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?

Shimon quickly shoveled a forkful of rice into his mouth, while attempting to scribble the right math equations into his workbook. “(2 x 34 -11)2” he said between mouthfuls. “Mommy, I got some rice on my paper, but I have to finish this before it is time to go in the shower,” Shimon choked out.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/boys-and-reading-how-yoni-can-read/2013/01/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: