Course details

Su 14, Sp 15, Su 15, Sp 16, Sp 17, Sp 18
Course number
READ 533
Course title
Boy Readers/Boy Writers
Course description

Boy readers and boy writers can be guided to love the story experience through books and personal writing. Boys’ passion for non-fiction and informational text can be promoted and encouraged in literacy settings. Update your current knowledge on gender differences in brain structure and learning preferences. Examine cultural expectations that contribute to boys’ attitudes toward the written word. Refine your teaching practices to allow boys’ appropriate choice and a chance at success. Familiarize yourself with literature favored by boys, including websites that can guide you through selection.

Kimberly Skach
Instructor bio

Kimberly Skach, M.S., PSU Adjunct Instructor and Oregon Reading Specialist. Skach has been a Title 1 teacher and Literacy Coach in the David Douglas School District since 2000.. From 1986 – 1997 she was a National Workshop Developer, Senior Trainer and Editorial Consultant for The Wright Group Publishers. She is the author of Building a Balanced Literacy Program (The Wright Group) and has edited numerous teacher training manuals and professional resource materials. (BA, MS, Portland State University)


There are no required prerequisites for this graduate-level course. However, learners are assumed to have experience working with elementary and/or secondary students, some of whom are male.


1.1 Candidates understand major theories and empirical research that describe the cognitive, linguistic, motivational, and sociocultural foundations of reading and writing development, processes, and components, including word recognition, language comprehension, strategic knowledge, and reading-writing connections.
1.3 Candidates understand the role of professional judgment and practical knowledge for improving all students’ reading development and achievement.
2.1 Candidates use foundational knowledge to design or implement an integrated, comprehensive, and balanced curriculum.
2.2 Candidates use appropriate and varied instructional approaches, including those that develop word recognition, language comprehension, strategic knowledge, and reading-writing connections.
2.3 Candidates use a wide range of texts (e.g., narrative, expository, and poetry) from traditional print, digital, and online resources.
3.1 Candidates understand types of assessments and their purposes, strengths, and limitations.
3.3 Candidates use assessment information to plan and evaluate instruction.
3.4 Candidates communicate assessment results and implications to a variety of audiences.
4.1 Candidates recognize, understand, and value the forms of diversity that exist in society and their importance in learning to read and write.
4.2 Candidates use a literacy curriculum and engage in instructional practices that positively impact students’ knowledge, beliefs, and engagement with the features of diversity.
4.3 Candidates develop and implement strategies to advocate for equity.
5.1 Candidates design the physical environment to optimize students’ use of traditional print, digital, and online resources in reading and writing instruction.
5.3 Candidates use routines to support reading and writing instruction (e.g., time allocation, transitions from one activity to another, discussions, and peer feedback).
5.4 Candidates use a variety of classroom configurations (i.e., whole class, small group, and individual) to differentiate instruction.
6.1 Candidates demonstrate foundational knowledge of adult learning theories and related research about organizational change, professional development, and school culture.
6.4 Candidates understand and influence local, state, or national policy decisions.

Practical applications

Students will:

Gain important background knowledge and effective strategies to facilitate their instructional planning and delivery of literacy instruction to boys
Understand instructional decisions that promote increased engagement for boys in reading and writing activities, including fiction
Increase familiarity with literature and non-fiction often preferred by boys in elementary, middle and high school
Understand current scientific knowledge in brain variations among genders
Understand boys’ learning needs as reflected by learning styles and preferences
Understand cultural influences as they relate to boys’ reading and writing instruction, participation and preferences
Increase familiarity with societal views toward violence in boys’ writing
Research claims that suggest boys are not struggling in school

Time commitment

Students should expect to spend 9 hours per week for 10 weeks in course-related activities (e.g., reading the text and course materials, posting to discussion forums, completing written reports/papers and classroom-based assignments).


A textbook is required for this course. Check¬†with PSU’s ReadOregon program

Historical offerings

Spring 2010
Spring & Summer 2011, 2012, 2013
Spring 2014: 03/31/14