Addressing the gender gap

Various strategies are suggested to try to reduce the gap in literacy between boys and girls, and in particular, to inspire boys to read and write.

  • give boys a distinct sense of purpose in each lesson and encourage collaboration.
  • ask pupils to read a book and then write a review of it to recommend the book to a younger child. This inspires them to choose appropriate books for other children, to read them carefully and to write careful reviews. They can also use their ICT and art skills to present their reviews well. This could also help to improve their own literacy skills
  • use good quality, yet inspiring, reading material during guided reading sessions and literacy lessons. The quality of the texts is important in order to provide good examples of writing, yet the subject matter also needs to grab the boys’ attention. e.g. spooky stories, or action stories, especially those with a boy protagonist.
  • encourage boys initially to read anything that they are interested in, whether it be magazines, stories, comics or instructions for games. Gradually, they will choose books that interest them.
  • present boys with inspirational stimulus, such as film clips, in order to provide the subject matter for a lesson. Use of role play and drama activities add to the interest and help to provide motivation for boys to want to read on, to find out what happens next in the story and to want to write their own versions of scenes from the story.

Reflect on your own practice and identify different strategies that work well for you. What are your experiences of the gender gap?

The gender gap: fact or fiction

Literacy and reading in secondary school