9 thoughts on “There is a reason for the gap between girls & boys in reading acquisition

  1. The gender gap in literacy acquisition has nothing to do with visual memory. Kids learn to read automatically once they practice writing the alphabet until they can do do fluently (ie, at 40 letters per minute). Girls are easier to get to practice than boys are, and that explains the difference, as we have proved experimentally.

    1. Bob,
      visual memory has a great deal to do with infant’s literacy acqusition IF a student in in a Whole Language or Balanced Literacy classroom.
      The difference is minimal in a Phonics First classroom. I feel you are obsessed with one idea to the exclusion of everything else, a great deal of which is fundemental to literacy competence.

      1. Regarding “Visual Memory”: Some people claim they don’t have “visual images”. But Maria Montessori claimed that making such images of written entities (not “phonics”) is the key to literacy, and that these (or their equivalents) were made automaticly once kids could handwrite the letters “expertly”.

        Whether or not I’m obsessed too much with this idea depends. If all children can write the whole 26-letter alphabet in 40 seconds in the first two years of school (which isn’t now taught), will there be ANY “dyslexics”. Only time and science can give an answer. For us, hundreds of kids have never failed.

        1. Bob,
          Visualisation and working visual memory are 2 very different functions. We have a study on over 3,000 students (presenting for an eye test) supporting what we are saying. There is a conflict between infant’s cognitive development and current teaching practice. Change the teaching practice and the difference between the performance of girls & boys shrinks to a fairly insignificant level.

          With this change in teaching practice you will find that your main concern will be addressed, as will ours.


          1. Jean,

            Fluency in writing skill may not be the only problem kids face, and your evidence about visual memory may be quite true; as long as children are made measurably fluent at handwriting the alphabet in the first two years of school, I personally have no objection to other problems being met.

            1. We are in accord on that one Bob. I have never said that what you advocate is incorrect. Consistency in letter formation and ready recall of the sound symbol connections are fundamental components of foundation reading skills 🙂

            2. Jean,

              According to Marilyn Adams, the best predictor of reading success in rising first-graders is the ability to rapidly name randomly presented alphabet letters. Her proof that most American kids can’t do so after two years of school is truly shocking. It’s hard to learn phonics if one can’t tell one letter from another.

              Handwriting practice is most important during the first-year, and I’m glad you agree.

              I’m trying to learn everything I can about literacy teaching. I’d love to read more about your ideas on visual memory, and my email address is rovarose@aol.com

Comments are closed.