2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Sit on daddy's lap to listen to a story would make boys not only love reading, but also love school!
A Quebec experiment promoting reading and writing shows that, contrary to popular belief, boys are not allergic to either.
“Boys have few male role models. The more they feel competent, the more they will read,”says Natalie Lavoie, professor of education sciences at the University of Quebec in Rimouski (UQAR). With her colleague, Jean-Yves Lévesque, she conducted an experiment with some thirty young boys aged 9 to 13 at risk of dropping out of school to stimulate their interest in reading and writing. This research-action, carried out over five years in three schools in Bas-Saint-Laurent, has turned out to be very positive. And even if the number of pupils remains modest, emphasizing reading and writing makes it possible to slow down repetition (29.7% against 56.3% in the control group) and orientation in a particular path (15% vs. 48%).
Increasing boys' interest in books and changing their reading habits increases their participation in activities and their sense ofskill. "This has a definite influence on their school activity and their results", sums up the researcher.
Antoine, in sixth grade, did not read or participate in reading activities. A year later, he claims to read every day "to learn new words" although he still prefers action books to novels. "We were concerned to start from the universe of boys by offering them books close to their experience and male role models, but also to broaden the cultural universe of boys," explains Jean-Yves Lévesque. Because those who show the most difficulties often come from backgrounds where one does not read. “Some had never even opened a diary,” reports the researcher.
The specialist in failure and school dropout prevention at UQAR also finds it important to rely on all possible media, from comics to cinema. The students thus engaged in a critical analysis of Asterix and Cleopatra: “Comics or film, which is the best version? »
Researchers have also put many recipes into practice: setting up reading corners in the classroom, reading clubs, discussions around written or read texts, joint writing assignments… right up to visits from local personalities who came to read in class. The other originality of this approach was to ensure various supports - teachers, municipalities, universities -, but especially to work in all the mediums, withschool as well as at home. The main change observed is the change in the way boys look at reading. “This is no longer just an activity practiced at school, but also outside the establishment,” summarizes Natalie Lavoie.
This research-action by UQAR and the Phares school board aimed to increase the academic success of boys. It also helped to change the belief that "books are for girls!" »