Read Today: Getting boys interested in reading

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Recent reading scores demonstrate what educators have long known: far more girls read at grade level than boys. As part of our Read Today literacy project, we asked: What should we be doing differently to help boys?

Boys like science and silly; and when it comes to books, they don't like the same ones the girls do. But the differences don't end there.

New national reading scores show while 73 percent of Utah's fourth grade girls read at or above grade level, only 64 percent of boys do.

"There are clear differences -- chemical, genetic, differences between boys and girls, thank heaven. And they affect learning, there's no question about it," says Reed Spencer, with the Utah State Office of Education.

So, while the numbers aren't surprising, they are concerning, given that reading is such a fundamental skill.

What should parents do to help boys in particular? Education leaders gave us the Three S's.

First, Summarize.

"The number one secret to this is to encourage your kids, in fact; kind of insist that they summarize what they're reading," Spencer says.

Second, Summer Reading.

"If kids continue to read daily over the summer, they don't regress regardless of their background," Spencer says.

Third, Spider Stories.

"[Read about] spiders and bugs and earthquakes and fungus and every fun thing there is," Spencer says. "Boys really respond to those."

The governor's office has distributed summer reading calendars to every Utah elementary school. In it, you'll find more reading tips, book lists and a Happy Meal coupon for kids who do their reading.

If you didn't get a calendar at school, they're available online by clicking HERE and at all Deseret Book locations.


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Nadine Wimmer


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