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This short test is not designed to scientifically diagnose a learning issue or disability. It is designed to help you observationally measure whether your son may need more encouragement or assistance in building better literacy skills. For the purposes of this tool, “literacy skills” are defined as skills related to reading and writing. This test is designed to be applicable to all families of boys who have begun reading.

To use this tool, pick the best answer for each of the 10 questions. Give each A answer 1 point, each B answer 2 points, and each C answer 3 points. At the end of the test, add up the point total.

1. When you ask your son if he would like to read a book or magazine, he says no.

A. All or most of the time. B. About half the time. C. Almost never or never.

2. When you tell your son it is time to read and write for school and/or homework, he refuses or battles against you.

A. All or most of the time. B. About half the time. C. Almost never or never.

3. Your son spends six or more hours per day in front of screens (TV, video games, computers, movies, mobile devices).

A. All or most days. B. About half the days of the week.

C. None or few days.

4. Your son’s teachers have informed you that he may have a reading and/or writing problem.

A. Frequently. B. Infrequently. C. Rarely or never.

5. Your son has received C’s or lower in classes that use a high volume of reading and writing (e.g. language arts, history, social studies, English).

A. All or most grading periods.

B. About half the grading periods.

C. Almost never or never.

6. Your son chooses to pick up a book, magazine, comic book, graphic novel, or tablet to read for pleasure.

A. Rarely or never. B. Once or twice per week.

C. A few times or more a week.

7. It is a battle to get your son to do his homework, especially the homework related to language arts, English, or other reading/ writing focused classes.

A. Once or more per day. B. Once or more per week. C. Rarely or never.

8. Your son’s best friend(s), play groups, or primary bonding groups (such as athletic teams, academic clubs, or other peer bonding groups) discount and dis- courage reading, writing, and literacy.

A. Often or very often. B. Sometimes. C. Infrequently or never.

9. Your son denies the value of reading and writing.

A. Often or very often. B. Sometimes. C. Infrequently or never.


10. The teachers in your son’s classes and school have received training in how boys and girls learn differently, and they teach literacy-oriented classes (such as language arts, English, history, and social studies) in ways that posi- tively account for gender differentiated learning needs.

A. Infrequently or never. B. Sometimes. C. Often or very often.

Scoring the Test

> 20 pts. Your son is prob- ably not vulnerable at this time to difficulties in literacy education.

10 – 20 pts. Your son may be vulnerable; he may not possess the literacy skills he needs to succeed in life.

<10 pts. Your son is most probably in urgent need of increased support on all fronts for his literacy devel- opment.

Important Note: This test is not designed for families of boys who have already undergone testing and assessment for learning or other disabilities, nor is this test a substitute for any medical or psy- chological testing or support.

Copyright ©2013 Gurian Institute, LLC (

SCOUTING: We’ve talked a lot about parents and teachers so far. Where does the Scout volun- teer come in as part of a mentor or role model for reading?

M.G.: I think Scouting is perfect for this because it’s set up with these rankings that promote literacy and brain development. When the BSA first called me, I was excited to hear the plan to make this a training and awareness piece for volunteers. You’ve got to get volunteers to understand that they have a profound mentoring role.

SCOUTING: What comes after awareness and training?

M.G.: Then, the volunteers need to model it. They may want to have guys around a campfire bring a book or pass a book around and read. Just make reading more a part of what they are doing—of course with topics the kids like.

SCOUTING: What are some prac- tical ways to get reading into pack and troop meetings or outdoor events?

M.G.: Fifteen minutes around a campfire is a good start. It’s got to become part of the mentor- ing culture. It has to become ritualized to some extent. If it’s just sporadic it may not feel as important to the kids. We adults love to sit on the back porch or by a river and read a book. Why not bring that joy to these young guys when they’re out in nature?

SCOUTING: But we’ll have a wide range of reading levels within an individual unit. A Boy Scout troop might have 12-year-olds and 17-year-olds sitting side by side. What then?

M.G.: That’s actually great. Human beings are pack

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