27 SES 02 A, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
Reading skills are an important tool when studying almost any school subject. Children who are motivated to read spend more time reading than their less motivated peers. As a result, the difference between their respective levels of reading skills becomes even more significant. Children’s attitudes towards reading develop early. The development is based on the reading environment at home, that is, how important a role reading and writing have in the lives of their family members. Parents provide their children a model of reading adults. If little boys see only their mother reading at home it is possible that they think that reading is not a suitable activity for men. Often parents’ expectations of their sons and daughters differ. They may think that it is natural that girls learn easier to read than boys because they have better linguistic skills. They may also assume that all boys have more negative attitudes towards reading than girls.
The first school years are an important phase of a child’s life. The children’s experience of this phase has a far-reaching effect on their attitudes towards school and it shapes their view of themselves as learners for years to come. Negative attitudes towards learning can reduce a pupil’s motivation and harm learning, whereas positive attitudes can do the opposite. The teacher has an important role when a child assesses himself or herself as a student. If a child gets positive experiences and feedback when studying he or she becomes more confident as a student. For boys the opinions of their peers are very important. Consequently, it is worth remembering that a student’s attitudes towards reading and writing affect not only his or her own engagement in literacy; they often affect the literacy environment of the whole classroom: negative attitudes are contagious.
Often boys’ reluctance to read leads to a decline in their reading skills. It seems probable that the differences between the two genders become wider still when the pupils are older. Hence, it is important to reflect how it would be possible to motivate young boys to read. The teacher has to know what texts appeal to his or her pupils. With interesting reading material it is possible to encourage even the most reluctant reader to read. It is not impossible, either, that even reluctant, poor readers have experiences of success, or that they gradually start to enjoy reading.
The goal of the study was to explore what kind of attitudes boys and girls have during their first two school years. The other goal was to examine what kind of reading material and teaching methods could motivate boys as well as girls to read and enjoy the activities during reading lessons.
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