A new initiative by the South Shore Regional School Board, a member board of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, is increasing awareness of the specific literacy needs of young boys in the classroom.
Recent research and various initiatives from Ministries of Education have identified the unique learning style of boys in the classroom; literacy strategies specific to boys’ needs are needed to improve student engagement and achievement-ultimately preventing boys from dropping out of school.
Prioritizing boys’ learning needs early on in their school career is critical for many reasons; literacy rates are decreasing and drop-out rates are increasing among boys in Canadian schools.
PISA 2009 results indicate that 15 year old Canadian females outperformed males in reading by 34 points (although similar to the average OECD gender gap).
A recent report by the C.D. Howe Institute discussed the increasing Canadian drop-out rate:
While Canada has made progress in the past two decades in terms of lowering high-school dropout rates, those rates remain unacceptably high for boys…the male share of the drop out population continues to rise, with five males now dropping out for every three females.
C.D Howe Institute, January 2011
For more information on the learning needs of boys in the area of literacy, see the report prepared by the Centre for Literacy at Nippissing University for the Government of Ontario, as well as the Canadian Council on Learning’s report on Gender Differences in Reading Achievement.