3-20-12 Chp 23 Boys and Literacy: Complexity and Multiplicity
(Michael W. Smith and Jeffery D. Wilhelm)

Smith and Wilhelm inform us that “boys underperform girls on standardized measures of reading and writing achievements” (360). What does surprise and shock me is the authors’ study of how boys in 32 countries significantly underperformed girls on all literacy skill tests (361). I have always heard that the U.S. trails behind the majority of all countries in all subject areas. I am just amazed at that fact that our American boys are very similar to the boys of those 32 countries when it comes to literacy.

In as much, maybe this difference in boys and girls is what the authors refer to as being rooted in in biological difference. I wonder what are some other viewpoints as to why girls perform better than boys on tests.

As I read further on, I found the answer to my question that I did not expect to find. Wayne Martino (an Australian scholar) states that boys see literacy as feminized and therefore reject literacy (363). Although his statement was written in 1994, I am seeing more and more boys and girls reading such books as the Harry Potter series and other books with similar themes. When I asked them why they preferred to read a 300-500 page book, their responses did not shock me. They all said that it was more interesting.