In the Nov. 9 Metro article on what the chancellor called a truancy “crisis” in District schools, four words identify the problem: “a focus on literacy.”

In the 1940s, when I was teaching ninth- and 10th-graders, I discovered that many boys did not know how to read. Slower to mature than girls, they had been left behind in reading skills in the first grade.

If, as second-graders, boys receive the training they need, they can catch up. But if such training is not provided, they will be lost.

Rather than alternative schools, truant boys no doubt need special classes or one-on-one instruction in reading conducted by teachers skilled in this kind of work.

Virginia W. Beauchamp, Greenbelt