Sunday, March 7, 2010

There IS a Difference Between Boys and Girls!

Last Friday, as I was waiting to pick up the boys in front of school, I started a conversation with another mom that I thought would be good to address here. She was telling me about how she had been reading with some boys in class today (she has three daughters) and was surprised at how much they WIGGLED.

She asked if that was normal -- guess what...YES it is. Boys and girls differ incredibly in how they go about life. I notice it in the classroom all the time. Boys need to move, to figit, to get up, to wiggle, to look around. Surprisingly, they are (most of the time) really hearing what you are saying...but they can't do it completely still.

She asked if I approached reading with boys differently. Absolutely.

In my classroom, and with my boys, there are allowances to help them focus and get interested. I may give them a squish ball to hold as they read. They may be laying on the floor (and then sitting up, and then laying down, and then sitting up), or even have music on. (ooh, I need to talk about music and reading)

I have intervals where they stop reading, get up, and talk about the book. They just need to move.

Another thing I have noticed is that girls really like the whole ask questions-converse with you thing. And if you ask them to draw pictures of what they read, they are elaborate and colorful.

Boys, not so much.

They sketch, they tell, they like to think about it. Many times I will have paper and pencil there for them to hold and scribble/sketch as they read.

I know all too well with four boys of my own the suspicions that arise when boys get so wiggly. Are they ADD? Are they learning? Do they need meds? I would vote more often that NO they do not.

I went through a phase with Matt where we suspected ADD. He couldn't keep organized, his thoughts were all over the place, and he was switching from one thing to the next without finishing. But...he was 8. I have noticed in the last few years his maturation, and the craziness getting better. But he still needs to wiggle, and lots of times, I will have him write down what he needs to do, and we have a "spot" for everything - closet for sports uniforms, spot for shoes, place for backpacks, routine for lunch kits...

All that to say - boys read differently than girls, and it is ok. They need to move. Give them that freedom. They may not want to snuggle on the couch. They may need to get up every few minutes. That's ok. So cut your boy some slack and be will find a way to channel that energy so their brain power will focus on what they are reading.

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