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First Grade—The Game Is Rigged

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The challenges on the road to manhood multiply when boys begin school. Boys Will Be Men visits a first grade classroom, where we see crucial developmental differences between boys and girls. Boys tend to be more physically active than girls, while girls' verbal skills develop more quickly. Because of this, boys don't adapt to classroom learning as well as girls do.

MICHAEL THOMPSON, a clinical psychologist and co-author of the best-selling book Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, comments that upon entering school a lot of boys look around and say: “What is this school thing? The game is rigged. It's a place run by women for girls and the girls are good at it and we're always in trouble.” Thompson maintains that there must be places "where boys can burn up their energy and run around and not be constantly getting into trouble and be shamed for just being boys."
First grade teacher JAMIE CARLSON agrees, but she also fears that if boys don't learn to read as fast as we have come to expect them to, they will suffer consequences that will last into adulthood.