Boys Reading Commission 2012: A Review of Existing Research Conducted to Underpin the CommissionReport as inadecuate

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National Literacy Trust

The gender gap has been a hotly debated issue, both nationally and internationally. In 2000, the then Department for Education and Schools commissioned a four-year study into raising boys' achievement. The commission worked with over 60 primary, secondary and special schools in England to identify and evaluate the strategies highlighted to be particularly beneficial in motivating boys. This short report outlines information that has come to light in recent years. The evidence comes from three sources: the views of practitioners from a survey of 226 UK schools on the issue; the academic and policy perspectives from secondary sources; and the views of young people from National Literacy Trust's surveys of young people themselves--with the latter forming the backbone of this paper. This brief review was prepared to inform the Commission's initial discussions and guide them in their subsequent investigation and evidence gathering. It sets out evidence for the following three main areas of the Commission's remit: (1) The scale of the problem: in what areas are boys struggling, emerging trends for the UK; (2) Why boys are falling behind: the impact of boys' attitudes towards literacy and their reading behaviours; and (3) Successful approaches: examples of how boys' literacy has been effectively supported. (Contains 8 figures and 72 footnotes.) [This paper was written with support from David Burke.]

Descriptors: Evidence, Foreign Countries, Males, Special Schools, Elementary Schools, Secondary Schools, Gender Differences, Adolescent Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Trend Analysis, Literacy, Reading Habits, Educational Policy, Student Surveys, Teacher Surveys, Reading Tests, Reading Achievement, Cultural Influences

National Literacy Trust. Swire House, 59 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ, UK. Tel: +44-2078-282435; Fax: +44-2079-319986; e-mail: contact[at]; Web site:

Author: Clark, Christina


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