COMET Auckland manager for literacy and family learning Alison Sutton spoke to Stuff.co.nz about the gender gap in literacy and oracy, and how we can help combat it this Father’s Day and Tuesday’s International Literacy Day.
In Auckland primary schools, 81% girls are reading at or above the standard level for their age, compared to 72.6% of boys who are reading at the same level.
These figures are significantly lower down in South Auckland areas captured by Auckland Council’s The Southern Initiative programme, with only 58.9% of boys reading at or above the standard for their age.
“Those figures are really worrying, because the gaps in literacy between girls and boys widen as young people go through their education journey,” said Alison.
As these boys grow into adulthood, this can result in a lack of the basic literacy skills needed for adults to do their jobs, said Alison, and can have a negative impact on their children’s reading.
“We need to build the literacy levels of parents and caregivers so that our young people can get the best start in school, and adults can thrive in their work,” she said.
There’s a call for an increased focus on literacy for boys and men across the country, so in keeping with the Father’s Day and International Literacy Day theme, COMET Auckland is encouraging fathers and father-figures to spend more time talking, reading and singing with their kids.