It’s time for schools to focus on the widening gap in reading and writing skills that leaves so many boys unprepared for success in college or vocational training.
As a volunteer in my daughter’s kindergarten class, I was asked to help children write a “story” (a few words) to illustrate their pictures. Only one girl needed my writing help; only one boy could write for himself. Nearly all the boys seemed to be a full year behind nearly all the girls in their ability to pay attention, follow directions, control frustrations, sit still, handle a pencil or crayon and do what used to be considered first-grade work.
As reading and writing are pushed down to earlier ages, boys are struggling harder to meet higher expectations, writes Richard Whitmire, a former USA Today reporter, in Why Boys Fail.
“Each year since 1988 the gap between boys’ and girls’ reading skills has widened a bit more,” Whitmire writes. Boys aren’t wired for early verbal skills — and teachers aren’t trained in “boy-friendly” techniques to help them catch up.