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In recent years, much has been researched and written regarding the different ways boys and girls develop and learn. While there are certainly similarities within each gender- there is also great variance. Although it may be helpful to consider some of the broad differences in the way in which boys and girls learn, in fact, many strategies considered effective for boys are also effective for girls, and vice versa.



Strategies that Engage

Strategies that have been particularly effective include :

  • a focus on active learning, e.g. group discussions, hands-on activities, etc.
  • allowing students to move around and refocus, e.g. working on the floor
  • providing a wide variety of texts for students to read, e.g. graphic novels, science fiction, adventure stories, non-fiction, multi-media texts
  • introducing new authors and genres, e.g. through Read Alouds and Book Talks
  • opportunities for choice, e.g. what to read and write, input on projects of interest, ways to demonstrate learning, etc.
  • a variety of ways for students to respond to what they read, such as literature circles, role play, book trailers
  • a variety of individual, collaborative and competitive activities

Consult the Experts

Over the last few years, there have been some excellent resources developed with boys in mind. The ideas presented on these sites can provide support for ALL the students in our classrooms.

  • The Ontario government has an excellent document called, Me Read? No Way! It is filled with practical strategies for improving boys’ (and girls’) literacy skills.
  • Barry MacDonald is an author and authority on boys and learning. He believes it’s time to shake things up a bit. You can find links to his books and articles on his website.
  • Check out the following lists for great books that have proven to be favourites for many students.
    • Great Books - a compilation of tips and genres that will hook many of your students.
    • Connecting boys to material they will want to read, in ways they want to read can be found at the Guys Read website.
    • This website has book lists, tips and articles on getting boys to read.
    • Take a peek inside Ralph Fletcher’s book "Boy Writers : Reclaiming the Voices" (Stenhouse : 2006). And also check out his new book, Guy-Write : What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know.


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