“What about the boys?” is a common theme in education circles when discussing academic achievement, particularly in English. Let’s unpack why it is essential that we stop the worrying literacy trajectory for our boys as they become young men.

A worldwide problem

In the UK, as in other western countries, the problem with boys’ literacy is stark and has dire consequences. Boys are more likely to be expelled from school, less likely to go to university and not as likely as girls to find employment between the ages of 22 and 29. Most disturbingly, men are also three times more likely than women to commit suicide and comprise 96 per cent of the UK prison population.

In Australia, one in four Year 9 boys (27%) do not meet the NAPLAN minimum standard for writing.  Boys trail girls in every NAPLAN literacy area tested at ALL ages.  Boys’ NAPLAN results get progressively worse as they get older. This is not unique to Australia, it’s a global phenomenon.  

Literacy skills are essential


Fifteen-year-old boys are more likely than girls of the same age to be low achievers,” the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its study of students from 65 countries and territories.

The statistics support the worldwide problem. Considerable research links poor literacy attainment to poor classroom behaviour, an increased risk for school dropout, anxiety, depression, low self-concept, incarceration and attempted suicide.

Why it’s important to get boys reading

Dr Jennifer Rennie, a senior lecturer at Monash University and president of the Australian Literacy Educators Club, argues “reading for pleasure needs to be back on the table”.  As a former primary and secondary teacher, she understands the effects of low literacy.

Low literacy has far-reaching consequences


Listen to Dr Rennie’s 20 minute podcast here.

How can we help boys?

This is not a new problem.  Millions of words have been written and billions of dollars have been spent on government programs trying to fix this problem, to no avail.  Effective reading instruction has the essential components of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. For early success in reading, these skills must be taught well.  If boys (and girls) miss any of these crucial stages then they can fall behind.

Why our program is different

Literacy for Boys is unique in that it is the only program of its kind developed specifically for boys, their needs and how best to engage them.  It is aligned with the Australian curriculum and covers the basics of reading comprehension, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Our topics cater for all boys’ interests – sport, science, adventure, true-life stories, forensics, tech gadgets, ghost stories, gaming and more.  Our formula for success lies in building confident readers via engaging content.

What our LFB community are saying!

  • As a parent I love this site.  I will continue to purchase this for all my boys.  It’s the best money we have spent!  (Bec)
  • I have been a member of Literacy for Boys since 2017 and the cost of the subscriptions is the best money that our school spends on literacy resources each year.  I am amazed at how the children engage with the program and how frequently new topics are added – the kids love it!  LFB is a lifesaver with the curriculum.  Thankyou for helping me to make literacy fun and engaging. (Camilla)
  • I LOVE this resource; it saves me a lot of time in supporting teachers who have children with learning difficulties. Well done!  (Samantha)
  • Your website is wonderful.  I am so glad that I discovered it.  I subscribed today for our two boys and am so happy that I did. (Amelia)

We are offering a FREE 2 week trial of Literacy for Boys. Try it for yourself and see how it works for your kids (8 years to 15 years).  Contact us today: info@literacyforboys.com.au

Check out our blogs for more ideas and tips.

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Brought to you by Tanya Grambower

Literacy For Boys Reading in Action