Some of the gender differences noticed by fMRI raise some possibilities about why boys might read differently from girls. Language does tend to be more one-sided in men compared to women (see figure below), accounting for why boys may be more vulnerable to language difficulties following birth trauma.
But even gender-related differences in emotional memory (yesterday's post) could explain some of the differences in reading preferences that educators have noticed throughout K-12 education.
A quick survey of the bookshelves of almost any elementary school classrooms reveals a heavy preference for fiction and 'school' stories, although boys prefer non-fiction, fantasy, humor, and science fiction. Could the preferences that boys and girls have be due to the gender differences in emotional memory? Would girls be as interested in situationally-based fiction if they didn't have as powerful emotional memories as they do? How about boys? Would boys be as uninterested in fiction if they had more powerful emotional memories? Something to think about...
If you have a reluctant boy reader, stock up on non-fiction titles, adventure stories, technology, and fantasy. Favorite reads can be a vital way to encourage a reluctant reader. Often if there is quite a bit of technical language to learn at first, this special interest can give a child a foothold in further language learning.
Helping Boys to Read Well and Often. ERIC Digest.
Boys and Books
Helping Boys Become Better Readers, Better Students, Better Guys
Gender Differences in Learning and Emotional Memory
Men Do Hear -- But Differently Than Women