Thursday, July 20, 2006

Homeschooling Solves Literacy Gap

A new study paints a terrible picture for our young men in the reading department.

The research, by psychology professor Judith Kleinfeld at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, finds that nearly one-quarter of high school seniors across the United States who are sons of white, college-educated parents have woeful reading skills, ranking "below basic" on a national standardized test.

"These boys cannot read a newspaper and get the main point," Kleinfeld told LiveScience. "These boys cannot read directions for how to use equipment and follow them.

"Many boys are disengaging from school," Kleinfeld says. "The U.S. Department of Education's surveys of student commitment show that boys are far less likely than girls to do homework or to come to school with the supplies they need."

In separate research, Judith Kleinfield may have found the root cause,

"Here's a fascinating fact," she said. "There is no literacy gap in home-schooled boys and girls."

"Why? In school, teachers emphasize reading literature and talking about character and feelings," she said. "This way of teaching reading does not turn boys on. Boys prefer reading nonfiction, such as history and adventure books. When they are taught at home, parents are more likely to let them follow their interests."

I think the lack of a literacy gap among homeschooled boys and girls is not only because we can tailor the reading to their interests, but also because at home they don't lose the desire to learn, simply because they can't read well. Most schools use reading as the primary means of learning. A slow or unenthusiastic reader in the early years is going to be seen as an under achiever and eventually lose the motivation to read and possibly learn all together.

In our home, both my boys and girls love reading, but my older son didn't start out that way. He is an auditory learner. He would sit and listen to me read a story, but had no interest in reading them. I loved it and so did he. When my voice went dry, he would listen to books or stories on tape. Lots of them. I didn't worry too much (thank you Dr. Moore), I knew that if his love for books was there, his love for reading them on his own would come with time. And it has. He is now 15 and a fine reader. But if his early learning depended on his reading ability, he would have fallen behind and been one of these statistics.

Have you noticed a difference between your homeschooled boys and girls in reading? Why do you think homeschooled students don't have the same literacy gap that public schooled students have?

(HT: The Common Room)

Related Tags: , , ,

No comments: