Thursday, November 26, 2009

Boys' and girls' brains develop differently

Part II of our coverage of Dr. Leonard Sax's seminar in Toronto about how boys and girls learn.

It's not that boys' brains develop more slowly than girls' brains, according to Leonard Sax. "It's more nuanced than that."

Researchers have found that:
* the areas of the brain involved in language and fine motor skills mature about six years earlier in girls than in boys;
* the areas of the brain involved in targetting and spatial memory mature about four years earlier in boys than in girls.

Boys mature faster in some areas than girls (for instance, at age two, a boy is likely to be able to build a bridge out of blocks more easily than a two-year-old girl).

And girls mature faster in some areas than boys (3.5-year-old girls may be able to interpret facial expressions than boys who are five years old).

The bottom line - rather than getting frustrated that your son is "being lazy" or "not trying hard enough," it may simply be that his brain just isn't ready for that particular skill.

And in that case, it's more helpful to focus on what he is doing well, and help him work on those areas.

In reading, it's often best to take a step back - and breathe. If he has a parent who cares enough to be reading a blog like this, then chances are he'll be fine. Scatter books around the house. Read to him every day. Let him see you reading. These are the single most important elements that help to build a great reader.

1 comment:

max said...

It's so important to draw attention to reading, and attract reluctant readers to it,especially boys. In fact, I've recently completed a feature magazine article on this subject that came out in October, "Help for Struggling, Reluctant Readers."

I grew up as a reluctant reader, in spite of the fact that my father published over 70 books. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that avid boy readers and girls enjoy just as much.

My blog, Books for Boys is dedicated to drawing attention to the importance of reading.

Keep up your good work.

Max Elliot Anderson