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Research reveals that boys in OECD countries continue to achieve less well than girls in standardised literacy testing such as NAPLAN and PISA. The combination of an intensive literature review and a qualitative study reveals what it takes to gain boys’ attention, hold their interest and engage boys in the meaning making process of understanding texts. This paper contributes to a better understanding of boys and their literacy learning and draws on the unique perspectives of fathers in understanding their sons’ attitudes to, engagement with and behaviour around reading.

The role fathers play in engaging their sons in positive literacy activities is central to this qualitative study. Zambo and Brozo (2009) recognise fathers as a unique and untapped resource and define the link between engaging fathers in literacy activities explicitly and their sons’ progress (p.132). As well as being informed by the literature about boys and literacy, 20 in depth interviews were conducted with fathers in order to gain insights into how and what they regard their role to be in supporting their son’s literacy development. The boy’s ages ranged from 7 to 11 years. The study highlights in part the value of fathers in participating in literacy activities with their sons and modelling enjoyment of reading. Fathers’ understandings of reading and the correlation with their son’s reading behaviour is investigated. How boys select texts and what is selected is explored. Practical collaborative approaches to boys’ reading and writing and methods to bridge and foster home-school relationships are reported.


School of Education

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Open Access Conference Paper

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Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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