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Personalised practice is the key to unlocking boys' reading potential
Boys can be encouraged to read as much as girls and even develop a genuine love of reading given the right guidance and enough practice.
Professor Keith Topping’s “What Kids Are Reading” report 2011 shows that, when properly guided to the correct texts, boys will read as much as girls, but when regular practice is not implemented their level of attainment drops significantly and falls behind that of girls’.
Examining the reading records of more than 150,000 children in approximately 1,000 British schools, the 2011 report utilises the data garnered by the Accelerated Reader (AR) program from Renaissance Learning. Used by over 70,000 schools globally, AR has produced astonishing results amongst even the most reluctant readers thanks to the ability of the STAR Reading component to accurately assess the actual reading age of every pupil enrolled on the software.
When first testing their pupils, many teachers and librarians are shocked at how much lower their pupils’ reading ages are in comparison to their chronological ages. However, this information allows them, with the help of the program, to guide their pupils towards books that are suited to their reading level. By first concentrating on books that are neither too easy nor too difficult yet still of interest, boys build in confidence and develop a genuine love of reading. When combined with over 18,000 fun, motivational, quizzes on the most popular fiction and non-fiction titles that put reading practice to the test, pupils using AR increase their reading age by an average of two years in just one academic year.
Dirk Foch, Managing Director, Renaissance Learning UK comments:
“Whilst all reading practice is good, we should not lose sight of the fact that it is possible to encourage boys to read as much as girls in terms of both quality and quantity given the right support. At Renaissance Learning we have witnessed the power of personalised practice time and time again with Accelerated Reader and urge more schools to put the program to the test.”