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* Football fanzines, computer magazines and funny poems are being used to boost disaffected boys' reading in south London primary schools.

Boys who read their favourite stories aloud to their class rapidly improved their reading ability during a three-month programme in the London borough of Croydon. It was turned into a performance by pupils and teachers. Nearly 1,000 eight to 11-year-olds took part in the study and

60 per cent improved by at least one level on the PLR reading scale.

But whereas girls of all abilities improved even when using only part of the course, low achieving boys only improved in nine classes which had fully adopted the strategies. The findings of the Croydon key stage 2 reading project were presented at UKRA's 35th international conference last week.

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