Why Won’t Boys Read?

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Richard Whitmire has a great post about boys and reading on Why Boys Fail.

Basically, he says video games and peer pressure are not the cause of boys’ poor reading skills. Poor teaching is.

I think he’s onto something.

I don’t mean to imply that teachers are bad, or even that the sole responsibility for educating a boy should lie with schools and teachers. Most teachers are dedicated, compassionate individuals who put a lot of time and energy into helping their students. And clearly, family environment has a lot to do with reading skill. If a boy grows up in a home with books and parents who read, he has a lot better chance of reading later in life than a boy from a house devoid of books.


Too many teachers are unaware of the biological differences between boys and girls, real differences that affect how boys (and girls) process information and learn. Too many teachers are tied to reading lists and lessons that ignore the fact that boys prefer non-fiction books or action adventures. Too many teachers fail to relate reading to boys’ real lives. Most boys I know would rather work their way through a video game manual than The Secret Garden.

Boys, Whitmire says, don’t lack reading skills, “because the power of World of Warcraft sucks away their academic interests. Parents, your boys got lost in school because teachers failed to engage them. Then they turned to World of Warcraft.”

What do you think? Are schools, teachers, parents or society to blame for boys’ poor reading skills?

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