It’s never too late…

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By Paul Blumformer SENCO, Deputy Headteacher and author of The Extraordinary Files fiction series, designed to encourage reluctant readers, published by Rising Stars

Motivating struggling boy readers is an on-going problem, and while Jim Knight MP suggests that there are no ‘easy, overnight solutions’, it is never too late to start trying – Paul Blum explains how.

Why do boys struggle?

Forcing yourself to sit down and concentrate on a difficult and laborious task is hard for even the most disciplined adults. So, understandably, a child who has lost confidence and interest in reading finds it very hard to settle down and read with their peers. Of the 20 per cent of struggling readers in the UK, the majority are boys. Faced with a reading session, they will do almost anything to avoid or delay reading, from holding the book upside down, fidgeting and yawning to chatting. Having never got to grips with reading, they dread the prospect of tackling even a few sentences in front of their peers.

This lack of confidence is a real hurdle that needs to be overcome before their ability can improve.

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  1. Cathy Gadd
    on 10 June 2013

    Lunch-time Reading Group

    I am a school Librarian in an inner London school and run a lunch-time Reading Group with a small (about 10) group of boys with English as a second language and low literacy levels. We have been reading the Matt Merton Mysteries and we thoroughly enjoy the books! The boys each have a copy and read a page each; this enables them to follow the text both visually and by listening. The sessions last for 20 minutes and include answering 6 questions both verbally and written. I have written my own questions with a page number reference as the boys found the questions at the back of the book too difficult for them. The boys were very keen to know what was going to happen in the next book. After reading "The End: Part One" I asked the boys to write a few lines on what they thought the ending would be.

    The boys are all more confident readers and are reading ever more challenging Library books from choice.

    Myself and my Teaching Assistant both enjoyed the series; when she missed one session she insisted on reading the story before the next session so as not to miss anything!

  2. Jane Anlezark
    on 5 June 2013

    Remote Indigenous Students

    I am directing co-workers to read this site. I am teaching low literacy remote area Indigenous adolescents. The Matt Merton series by Paul Blum has greatly supported my young men and women in engaging in their reading. Some people focus on students needing culturally appropriate materials but I find that taking them to other places and spaces through fiction energises the class as well.

    We loved the series and will now be ordering other Paul Blum books.