I read a great article on 'Gender Friendly Learning' the other day its a few years old (May/June 2002); I found it in "Tree House Canadian 'Family'" an Owl magazine. The information is based off of Michael Gurian book, "Boys and Girls Learn Differently!"
There are nine suggestions on how to make learning easier for both boys and girls. I'll summarize them.
1. Let students use hand held objects that can be manipulated during reading. I've let Henry use a some play-doh while we are working on his reading. That seemed to help him settle down and focus; the example they use in the article is a stress ball. Boys like to work with concrete objects so using differently shaped pasta to represent quotations marks and commas is very helpful to them. Daily journal writing is recommended for even challenged writers because the ritual of daily writing is beneficial.
2. Multisensory reading and writing stimulation , play music or use dimming lights or candles to create mood, while kids have to write a mysterious story.This is helps to improves literacy dramatically in boys.
Overhead projectors are more useful for teaching then verbal instruction alone because it augments the verbal with a visual and spatial stimulant. Boys in Grade 1 and 2 who may not have developed verbal skills appear to be particularly helped by this approach.
3. Read & Draw, , I tried this tonight I read a book while I let Henry draw he seemed quite happy about this. According to Gurian, "Drawing is no substitute for reading, but it can take pressure off children who read poorly but can use aural and verbal stimulation to better code and decode words."
4. Providing visual, tactile objects to help student better see. This is especially helpful to girls. Using manipulative in math also is helpful to boys because they appreciate being able to learn through physical activity.
5. Provide a variety of learning modalities. Gurain has found "that girls in particular shine when they're given different ways to learn, such as tutoring other students, writing in their journals, debating issues, writing & acting out plays that are incorporating academic subjects."
6. Try same sex classes. Gurian found that in school that did this both the boys and the girls did better. "Both boys and girls were more focused and worked harder in class." This was a grade 7 class.
7. "Give extra encouragement this is very important for girls but it's also important for who are highly sensitive and less competitive then their male peers, or who are particularly aggressive, also need special intention," says Gurian.
8. Provide opportunities for physical movement. Very important for young boys. This is probably one of the number one benefits for homeschooling. I can give Henry breaks every 15 mins or so, he just needs to move. They give examples of letting boys clean blackboards or taking notice to the office in a school setting.
9. Wait for an answer, regardless of gender. Give the child a min to pull thoughts together.
I find for boys and even men seem to take much longer to process then women. I think they comprehend the information but it's that they take longer to decide on how they want to articulate their thoughts. This is my opinion and not in the article.