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Closing the Gap Through Books

Closing the Gap Through Books

Boys and Guys Read Book Battles

Our Closing the Gap initiative originated from research we conducted that raised concerns about a gender gap observed among elementary school students nationwide and in Pinellas County, with boys trailing behind girls in literacy achievement. For ten years, in partnership with the school district, we have been committed to helping close the gender achievement gap.

Closing the Gap focuses on research-driven, instructional strategies to increase student outcomes. Changing instruction and learning environment practices is crucial to closing gender achievement gaps and eliminating gender disparities.

A micro-credentialing program for teachers in gender-differentiated instruction (GDI) began in 2022 and employs literacy strategies, student engagement, and brain research to help implement learning practices in the classroom that support gender-specific learning. This initiative was the first of its kind in Florida and we have had 49 teachers complete the micro-credentialing program. Over 100 educators annually participate in Closing the Gap Professional Development Trainings. Employing these strategies has already led to higher achievement for both boys and girls.

Another popular strategy among students that was developed with the goal of narrowing the gender achievement gap and improving reading and comprehension skills was the creation of the annual Boys Read Book Battle. Pinellas County Schools hosted the Boys Read Book Battle last month and this year, the competition was extended beyond elementary school and included a separate high school-level Guys Read Book Battle.

Thanks to our generous corporate donors, Transamerica, Valley Bank, Achieva Foundation, and Jabil Cares Foundation, not only was the event successful, but this past school year, the Closing the Gap committee was able to assist teachers with grants in 22 schools.

Congratulations to Safety Harbor Elementary and a combined Dunedin and Palm Harbor University High team who took first place in their respective book battles!

Want to learn more about how we address gender achievement gaps with innovative programming? Read more about the Closing the Gap initiative and check out the recap on the battles from ABC Action News to hear directly from student competitors.