Raising Boys' Achievement
There have been many studies undertaken in boys’ achievement in Literacy. Concerns about their achievements, particularly in Writing are not new. There is a continuing gap, nationally, between boys and girls’ achievements in Literacy. The gap is generally widest in Writing.
Boys and girls attain high standards at our school but there is still a pattern of girls doing slightly better than boys at the higher levels of Reading and Writing. We have many strategies in place to encourage boys in their learning at school. Here are some ideas that you could use at home to help boys gain confidence in themselves.
Try these five top tips from Gary Wilson, expert on raising boys’ achievement, to encourage independence in general and reading and writing in particular.
Boys need lots of praise. Often they see themselves as getting attention for all the wrong reasons. So, give your son lots of approval for all the right reasons! A good rule of thumb is to try to say three positive things to every negative.
- When giving praise, try to be specific about what it is your son has done to earn the praise e.g. say, "That is a great piece of writing. I like the way you've described the..." rather than just saying "That's good work".
If you want to help your son to do better, it's important to get him talking (and listening!) right from the start. You can help in several ways:
- Show an interest in what your son is doing (even is the subject doesn't interest you!) and ask questions about it.
- Talk with him, rather than at him.
- It's important to be patient; listen with interest, keep the conversation going, ask questions and don't leap in with an answer. Easier said than done!
3. Be independent
To help your son to be independent from an early age, you could encourage him to:
- Get himself dressed in the morning,
- Make a list of everything he needs for school that day
- Make his own decisions about a few things in the week's routine
4. You can do it!
Boys often feel mistakes equal failure. A boy's response is to say that he 'can't do it'. To help your son feel that he CAN do it, give him lots of encouragement when he does something well. It's important to remember that mistakes don't equal failure; it's just the way we learn.
5. Read, read, read!
It's really important to show boys that reading is an 'ok' thing for men to do. So, granddads, dads, brothers, uncles... you need to get reading too!
Reading together is important for boys of all ages as it helps them realise that it's not only a skill for life, but also good fun too.
- Read with expression
- Talk about the characters, plot and pictures along the way.
- Ask him to guess what might happen next.
Encourage your son to read when you are out and about together. Try reading labels, signs, posters, instructions.. the list is endless. Words are everywhere, so read them!
Reading with your children makes a big difference to their achievement at school.