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Attitudes towards reading and writing develop early. When home provides a rich reading environment that includes books and magazines, and when parents read to their children frequently, the children are likely to adopt a positive attitude. When children observe adults reading and writing, this can work to increase their awareness of the various purposes of the written text. It is possible that even before going to school they obtain a relatively rich vocabulary and a sense of story structure. Consequently they often learn to read without struggle and for them reading can become a pleasant pastime.

A pupil who reads fluently is likely to be an eager reader, who reads also outside school. As a consequence, his or her reading skills continue to improve. A poor reader does not read voluntarily, and therefore the difference between their respective levels of reading skills becomes even more significant. Wallace , p.

Pupils are very different as readers, and they are motivated to read very different books and texts. The reader should find the topic of the text interesting and possess enough previous knowledge related to its subject matter. Therefore it is crucial to offer pupils a wide variety of reading material, in other words an array of books representing a variety of topics, levels of difficulty and genres of literature is necessary.

Cole , p. They may have special personal interests, and the material available may not always meet their hopes. They showed particularly strong performance in retrieving information and interpreting texts. Their high level of interest and engagement in reading outside school corresponds to that of their reading skills. They borrow books from the library more frequently than in any other OECD country and 41 per cent of them reported that reading was one of their favourite pastimes.

For girls the figure was 60 per cent. This was, however, not due to Finnish boys performing poorly but to Finnish girls doing exceptionally well. In fact, Finnish boys scored better than the boys of any other OECD country and better than the girls in many of them. Reading skills are an important tool that pupils need to become academically successful. Good readers are better students than poor readers in every subject area.

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As Brozo stresses, it is especially important that boys can be motivated to read. In the USA, boys are significantly less successful in school than girls: boys are three to five times more likely to have a learning disabilities placement in school, boys score significantly lower on standardized measures of reading achievement and they are 50 per cent more likely to be kept down a year. In universities the number of female students is increasing while the number of male students is decreasing. Trying to motivate a reluctant boy to read is a difficult and often frustrating task for parents and teachers.

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Boys are easily caught in a harmful cycle. His reluctance to read leads to a decline in his reading skills. Brozo , pp. Boys prefer texts that have a purpose: getting information, making things and helping others. Wilhelm There should be, from the beginning of school, a meaningful purpose for the writing as well.

Children should be allowed to use it in the same manner as adults, i. When a teacher selects writing tasks for boys, he or she should use his or her knowledge of their interests and hobbies. Sometimes the use of computers can motivate boys, especially those who find writing by hand difficult, to write. On the other hand, most girls enjoyed writing at school and chose to write for themselves at home. Kear, Coffman, McKenna and Ambrosio , p. They realise that skilful writing requires effort.

They may have had unpleasant experiences with writing; it may have proved tedious or they may have received negative feedback. Teachers have a difficult task as they attempt to foster positive attitudes in their pupils. Alloway and Gilbert suggest that boys may not show their true literacy skills within the set of literate practices that school involves and values but rather in other, for them more desirable forms of literate practice. In the study participated fourth-grade pupils from the Finnish comprehensive school aged 10 to 11 out of whom 67 were boys and 78 girls.

In the present instrument the questions were, however, mainly different. The instrument contained two twelve item sections. Responses were made on a 4-point scale to avoid the possibility that children would select a neutral alternative. The instrument was designed to be administered to an entire class in only a few minutes.

It achieved a high degree of reliability. The questions were worded in such a manner as to be unambiguous and easy to understand. When answering a question the pupil ticked the one of the four teddy bears placed above the question that best illustrated his or her opinion about the asked matter.

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The very happy teddy means that the pupil loves to do what he or she is asked about, the smiling teddy means he or she does it with pleasure, the tired and unhappy teddy means he or she would not want to do it, and the repulsed teddy means he or she would hate to do it. See Figure 1 The very happy teddy is assigned a score of four. The repulsed teddy receives a score of one. In the study described in this article, in order to confirm that all pupils had understood what they were expected to do, the teacher and the class had talked about how the teddy felt in each picture.

Moreover, the children answered, supervised by the teacher, one extra question before they started filling the questionnaire. Moreover they supplied information on how willing the pupils were to read aloud in the class or to visit a library. In the second part of the instrument pupils expressed their opinions about the writing of different types of texts, the checking and correcting of their own texts, and the professions of a writer or a journalist. In addition they were asked how they feel when the other pupils read their texts. Most of the participants in this study 60 per cent took part in a previous study by the author Merisuo-Storm in which various aspects of their reading and writing skills were tested after the first and the second school year.

Nearly all of the pupils said that they enjoyed reading books and visiting a library. None of them had ticked the most negative alternative "It would be awful" as representing his or her opinion about them. Only three pupils said, "I do not like to read books" and six of them said, "I do not like to visit a library".

All of these pupils were boys. It seems probable that the differences between the two genders become wider still when the pupils are older. According to a national survey carried out in spring , in the sixth grade girls read twice as many books as boys. Korkeakoski , p. One has to know what texts appeal to pupils to be able to motivate them to continue reading. The study confirms that girls of this age usually read many types of texts, but boys are far more selective readers.

Comics were followed by humorous stories and adventure books.

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The girls liked adventure books best although they have been traditionally regarded as "boy books". Their second choice was a humorous story and a comic was the third. They also chose humorous stories more often than the girls, but there was no significant difference between the two genders.


Most boys would hate to read poems, but stories and fairytales were nearly as unpopular as poems. Non-fiction and poetry were genres that least appeal to most girls. In fact for Finnish ten or eleven-year-old pupils poetry seemed to be the least interesting genre of literature. Readers will be left rooting for Rico and Zan to forge the futures they deserve.

This first book in a new Shadowhunters spin-off series is a flavoursome feast for Cassie Clare fans. When an ancient stone is shifted, lethal ghosts are released and it falls to Preston to fix this desperately dangerous situation, with a prickling sense of suspense and shrewd interweaving of local folkloric beings.

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Perfect for fans of Joseph Delaney and Jonathan Stroud. Born under a blood moon, twin sister travellers, Kizzy - a brave, voluptuous bear dancer - and Lil - slight in frame and blessed with a beautiful voice — are captured after their camp is ransacked on the eve of their divining, the coming-of-age rite that would have seen them learn their fates.

With many kinsfolk slain, the twins are enslaved by Boyar Valcar and set to work in the castle kitchens, where rumours about the notorious Dragon loom large over all the female slaves. Separated when Kizzy is snatched away, Lil escapes to search for her sister with Mira, a fellow slave. As they race against time to save Kizzy, encountering the terrifying strigoi undead along the way, powerful desires are awakened, which adds extra conflict as the story winds to its transfixing climax.

September Book of the Month Hitting rock bottom, hanging on, and coming back from the edge. Brian Conaghan has an incredible talent for telling it like it is. And Maggie? Grief, depression, self-harm, online abuse, this novel is no walk in the park, yet it never drags the reader down. On the contrary. The story he untangles is full of double-dealing and deceit and Mason creates a world of dark cynicism that Chandler would recognise and envy.

Garvie solves the crime but is definitely left with cracks in his hard-boiled exterior. A brilliant page-turner for all readers, and a sharply observed and often very funny bit of YA. The gas masks Ash mentions are needed by the Canaries on account of them suffering from debilitating environmental illnesses that doctors deny the existence of. And so begins a thoroughly thought-provoking novel that tackles huge health and environmental issues.

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Ash journeyed to the community in search of his missing stepbrother, Bly. The folk here cannot live in towns or cities due to all the chemicals and smells and electrical fields that trigger incapacitating Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. With the canaries. This remarkable novel is underpinned by its acute portrait of fractured folk forging an existence in a fractured world that seems on the brink of end times. A new novel from a Carnegie Medal winning Kevin Brooks is always an event.

As an author he has never been afraid of challenging concepts and this is no exception. Kenzi is a typical fifteen-year-old girl and at first sight her problems are familiar tropes- the unexplained death of her mother, a distant and uncaring father and a beloved brother with a serious life-threatening health condition, unwise friendship choices and severe bullying at school.

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Then illness strikes her, and her skin becomes completely transparent.