Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices

Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices

by Ralph Fletcher
     
 

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Writing test scores indicate that boys have fallen far behind girls across the grades. In general, boys don't enjoy writing as much as girls. What's wrong? How can we do a better of job of creating “boy-friendly” classrooms so their voices can be heard?

In Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices Ralph Fletcher draws upon his years of

Overview

Writing test scores indicate that boys have fallen far behind girls across the grades. In general, boys don't enjoy writing as much as girls. What's wrong? How can we do a better of job of creating “boy-friendly” classrooms so their voices can be heard?

In Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices Ralph Fletcher draws upon his years of experience as staff developer, children's book author, and father of four boys. He also taps the insights from dozens of writing teachers around the US and abroad. Boy Writers asks teachers to imagine the writing classroom from a boy's perspective, and consider specific steps we might take to create stimulating classrooms for boys.

Topic choice emerges as a crucial issue. The subjects many boys like to write about (war, weapons, outlandish fiction, zany or bathroom humor) often do not get a warm reception from teachers. Ralph argues that we must “widen the circle” and give boys more choice if we want to engage them as writers. How? We must begin by recognizing boys and the world in which they live. Boy Writers explores important questions such as:

  • What subjects are boy writers passionate about, and what motivates them as writers?
  • Why do boys like to incorporate violence into their stories, and how much should be allowed?
  • Why do we so often misread and misunderstand the humor boys include in their stories?

In addition, the book looks at: how handwriting can hamstring boy writers, and how drawing may help; welcoming boy-friendly writing genres in our classrooms; ways to improve our conferring with boys; and more.

Each chapter begins with a thorough discussion of a topic and ends with a highly practical section titled: "What can I do in my classroom?" Boy Writers does not advocate promoting the interests of boys at the expense of girls. Rather, it argues that developing sensitivity to the unique facets of boy writers will help teachers better address the needs of all their students.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Although classroom teachers should find Fletcher's advice especially thought-provoking and useful, Boy Writers is written for a broader audience, including parents, teacher educators, literacy advocates and perhaps even policy makers and boys themselves." - Education Review

"A good read and well worth the time and money. Boy Writers would be good for teachers looking for a staff development study around gender-specific teaching strategies or writing improvement." - Teacher Learners Network

"Fletcher's book will surely keep me returning to his ideas time and time again. This book must be read by teachers (both male and female) in order to reach our boy writers." - RecycleYourReads.com

Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Ralph Fletcher is the author of numerous books about how to teach writing, as well as numerous books for young readers themselves. Here he takes on the special challenge of connecting with boy writers. Without at all bashing feminist concerns for empowering girls, he carefully documents the degree to which boys as a population have become alienated from writing. By one assessment, twelfth grade girls score a full twenty-four points higher than boys on standardized writing tests; overwhelmingly, teachers report that their female students seem to enjoy writing more than their male students. As writers, Fletcher argues persuasively, boys are simply "failing to thrive." Fletcher then offers an eye-opening array of pedagogical strategies to reclaim the voices of boys: give kids more choices in what they write by relying less heavily on the use of prompts; be less quick to censor boys' writings for action-packed violence, crude humor, and "inappropriate" language; allow students to write on the computer to avoid problems with laborious or unreadable handwriting; encourage students to "write" through pictures as well as words. Each chapter includes a specific, concrete list of pointers for "What I Can Do in My Classroom," as well as a sample of a strong and successful piece of writing by a boy. This is an invaluable book: both a clarion call that inspires change, and a clear, workable program for how to bring it about. Boy writers everywhere, and those who care about them, should give a rousing cheer for Mr. Fletcher. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571108517
Publisher:
Stenhouse Publishers
Publication date:
01/01/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
637,451
File size:
3 MB

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