MAKING TEENAGER BOYS’ READING SUCCESSFUL

G. Chirlesan

University of Pitesti (ROMANIA)
European educational systems have long been striving to ensure equitable learning opportunities for every student. Providing equitable opportunities for girls or migrant students has traditionally been at the centre of this effort; providing them for boys is a relatively recent aspect, but it is increasingly becoming an issue of outmost urgency. Throughout Europe, there is dire need for special attention to adolescent boys’ literacy development and attitudes, since this group is more likely to be at risk.

The paper emphasizes some important research results obtained in the framework of the Boys Reading project financed by the European Commission, a project striving to make reading an integral part in the life of boys aged 11-15, who are currently unenthusiastic about books. Since “engaged readers have a much greater chance of staying in school, expanding career and life options, and maturing into self-actualized adults” (Brozo, 2010) the need to set boys’ reading engagement at the top of our priorities becomes evident. The Boys Reading project focuses on this top priority.

The findings of the desk research on boys’ reading and analysis of their reading needs achieved in Romania through three focus groups with:
(1) avid readers,
(2) reluctant readers and
(3) parents, librarian and teachers are provided and discussed in the paper.

These findings have been subsequently used to develop a toolkit for teachers. Ideas for incorporating boys' literature in the curriculum, general challenges, benefits and recommendations of using boys’ literature as well as sample teaching and activity ideas are also provided in the paper. The last part addresses recommendations for curriculum improvement for stakeholders and policy makers.