Research About Boys

Research About Boys: No Quick Fix

Recently much has been written about boys in school, with many popular books available. Boys seem to lag behind girls on many measures, and these books offer teachers and parents “boy-friendly” strategies to support boys.

However, there are no quick fixes to the current challenges faced by some boys. In addition, I have known many boys who experience success in school. We need research that reveals the complexities of the lives of boys.

I am searching for articles, websites, books and original research that offer a range of ideas around this topic. These will be useful to classroom teachers, administrators, parents and researchers.

Examples of Questions:

How can we support the learning needs of boys in mixed gender classrooms? How do we support parents and teachers without returning to traditional views of masculinity? What conditions exist when boys tell positive stories of school? How do boys negotiate the conflicting demands of child culture? How do academically successful boys negotiate their masculinity? 

Books about boys 

Booth, D. (2000) Even Hockey Players Read. Markham: Pembroke.

Brozo W.G.,(2002). To Be A Boy, To Be A Reader: Engaing Teen and Preteen Boys in Active Literacy. Newark DE: International Reading Association.

Gurian M. (2001) Boys and Girls Learn Differently: A Guide For Teachers And Parents. Jossy-Bass: San Francisco.CA

 James, Abigail Norfleet (2007) Teaching The Male Brain: How Boys Think, Feel and Learn in School. Thousand Oaks CA: Corwin Press.

 Kindlon D. and Thompson M. (2000). Raising Cain: Protecting The Emotional Life Of Boys.  New York: Ballentine Books.

 Lesko N. (ed) (2000) Masculinities at School. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.

Martino, W., Kehler, M. & Weaver-Hightower, M. (2009) (Eds). The Problem with Boys' Education: Beyond the Backlash (New York: Routledge). 

Macdonald, Barry (2005) Boy Smarts: Mentoring Boys For Success At School. Surrey B.C.: Mentoring Press

Newkirk T. Misreading Masculinities: Boys, Literacy and Popular Culture.  Portsmouth: Heinemann

Pollack W. (1999). Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From The Myths Of Boyhood. New York: Henry Holt.

Rowan L., Knobel M., Bigum C., Lankshear C., (2002) Boys, Literacies and Schooling: The dangerous territories of gender-based literacy reform. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Smith, M.W. and Wilhelm, J.D. (2002) “Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys” Literacy In The Lives of Young Men. Portsmouth: Heinemann.

Thompson M. and Barker T.H. (2009) It's a Boy! Your Son's Development from Birth to Age 18. New York: Ballantine Books.

Spence, C.M. (2008) The Joys of Teaching Boys: Igniting writing experiences that meet the needs of boys. Markham: Pembroke.

Zambo D., Brozo W.G. ((2009). Bright Beginnings for Boys: Engaging Young Boys in Active Literacy. Newark DE: International Reading Association 

____________ (2002). The Jossey-Bass Reader on Gender in Education. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

On line articles about boys 

Gurian M. and King K. (2006) With boys in mind: Teaching to the Minds of Boys. In Educational Leadership September 2006 64 (1). Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.  p.56 - 61

Gurian M. and Stevens K. (2004) With Boys and Girls in Mind. In Educational Leadership. November 2004. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.  p. 21-26.

 Available at:

Haaf Wendy (2017) Literacy: New Study on Boys and Reading

Imms, W. (2000). Multiple Masculinities and the Schooling of Boys. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue Canadienne De l’éducation, 25(2), 152–165. Retrieved from

Martino. W. (2008) Boys’ Underachievement: Which boys are we talking about?


Websites About Boys

Jon Scieszka’s website for guys about reading.

International Boys' Schools Coalition.

Mentoring Boys To Become Caring, Courageous and Ethical Men 

Barry McDonald. Surrey B.C. - author, professional speaker and consultant to parents, educators, corporations, and professionals, 

Masculinities Studies in Education Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

revised 2023