To explore this theory, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology used a letter test developed by educator Greta Storm
Ofteland. In it, boys and girls entering first grade were tested on four
components of literacy. The outcome? Girls were better than boys at recognizing letters and
the sounds that correspond with them.
"We found a
significant difference between girls and boys in all four variables, in favor
of the girls," said Professor Hermundur Sigmundsson, of the Norwegian university's psychology department.
learn to recognize the letters in a word and associate each letter with its
sound before their sixth birthday typically excel when it comes to reading. But
how do parents know if their child is struggling to understand and what, if
anything, can be done to help them get a better handle on phonics?
Turns out, when push comes to
shove, teaching a child to read—boy or girl—is all about being proactive.
Sigmundsson is working to develop a method
that would allow us to identify children who might eventually have trouble
reading—before it becomes a problem.
If early detection findings are successful, then parents and teachers will be
better equipped to swoop in and act quickly, thus reducing the need for
individualized attention for those students.
problem is that a lot of the support efforts come too late,” Sigmundsson said.
“If we could catch children earlier who are struggling and give them the right
training and follow-up, we might not have to do so much remedial work with them when
they get older.”
So, does this mean
girls are smarter? Of course not, but according to the study, mothers tend to talk more with girls
from the moment they are born and, because of this, they get more practice using
letters and sounds than boys do.
Sigmundsson said to give the boys a boost early on by emphasizing letters and
the sounds that correlate with them more frequently.
“We need to make
sure that all children have a good command of letter-sound relationships as
early as possible once they start school," he added.
approach to teaching a child how to read is to take it one letter at a time.
Let them inspect each character as you fumble through "Goodnight Moon" and
sound out each one deliberately while instructing them to do the same.
important, if you want your child to read—or better yet, learn to love
reading—then it might be a good idea to slow down, pick a fun book and enjoy
watching their little minds explore new challenges. It’s amazing how quickly they
will adapt when given the proper tools.