Readin’ Writin’ and
Roughhousing………
Engaging the Minds of
Boys in Literacy
Presented by:
Jill White
“Houston we have a problem.”
 "Mainly, we found no state in which boys did
not lag behind girls in reading at the
elementary level, the middle level and the
high school level. So it's pretty clear: Boys are
not doing as well as girls in reading."
Jack Jennings, President, Center on Education Policy.
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•The 100 Girl Project
For every 100 girls diagnosed with a special education
disability
217 boys are diagnosed with a special education disability.
For every 100 girls diagnosed with emotional disturbance
324 boys are diagnosed with emotional disturbance
For every 100 women ages 18 to 21 in correctional facilities
there are 1430 men behind bars.
For every 100 females ages 15 to 19 that commit suicide
549 males in the same range kill themselves.
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Boy’s perceptions of reading
 Significantly more boys identify themselves as non



readers than girls, especially in middle and high
school.
Boys value reading less than girls
Boys have much less interest in reading for leisure
than girls do.
Boys take longer to learn to read than girls do.
Boys may have rich literate lives outside of school,
but what they reject is “school literacy.”
 (Smith and Wilhelm 2002, pg 10)
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What can teachers do?
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Have the right stuff!
 Books that :
 Represent how boys see themselves
 Have a lot of action and adventure
 Strong visuals, graphic novels, comics
 Represent “boy humor”
 Are informative, non-fiction, how-to books
 Smith and Wilhelm, 2002 (pg 150-157)
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Boys need good male role
models, in life and in
literature.
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The Pilgrim
A searcher and wanderer
The Patriarch
Masculine form of
care and nobility
King
Trustworthy
and wise
Warrior
Brave and
honorable
Magician
Intuitive and
clever
Wildman
Independent,
unpredictable
Healer
Capable of bringing
wholeness to people
and societies
Prophet
Sees and
tells the truth
Trickster
Irreverent, funny
Lover
Acting in a loving
way
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Provide frequent
opportunities
 Fantasy football leagues….have students
research their favorite athletes and nominate
them for an All Star Team.
 Adopt a veteran. Contact local VFW, USAA,
local military base to have guest readers.
 Boyz Zone, in the library to showcase books
that may be of interest to boys. The boys
should be part of the selection process. Do
the same thing for the girls.
 Consider starting your own TRIBE
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Let Boys in on the Secret
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Make it more visual
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Strategies for teaching
vocabulary
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Culinary skills or tools are
related to cooking.
Something that is vivid
has very bright colors.
Provide Verbal Rehearsals
 It takes creativity to…….
 It takes creativity to…….
 It takes creativity to……
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 It takes no creativity to…..
 It takes no creativity to……
 It takes no creativity to…..
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Boys want choices……
 Boys need choice in their reading and writing!
 Boys would rather fail than look weak.
 Boys perceive that writing is soft
 They love humor
 They naturally prefer to write about violence,
don’t ban it, but guide it.
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Why do boys love magazines?
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Engaging Boys in Writing!
“The only point of a pencil is to
poke someone.”
(12 year old boy)
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Getting Boys to Write
 Include their interests
 Include technology
 What ifs……allow boys to change the
storyline instead of having them write makebelieve, which they perceive as “girlie.”
 Use artwork as a starting point
 Be aware of Genres…if boys aren’t reading
fiction then they probably won’t want to
write about fiction.
 Boys want an authentic audience.
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Use the Arts as a starting
point
 Boys love to create drawings in conjunction
with their writing.
 Use Reader’s Theatre to allow moves to
express themselves through movement,
humor and cleverness.
 Use music without lyrics to create word lists
that describe the music.
 Use music with lyrics and have them change
the words, or design a record cover
 Frank, 1995, pg 82
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There’s an App for
that!
Using technology to engage boys in reading
and writing
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Boys Need Good Role Models
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Thank you!
There is a boy out there that needs YOU
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What can CFEL do for you?
• Coaching
– Virtual
– In person
• Model Teaching Week
– June 13-17, 2011
– Huntington, IN
• Summer Institute
– July 6-9, 2011
– Lake Tahoe
• Customized Trainings
• Current Topics
– Common Core State Standards, Curriculum alignment,
Classroom Management, Bullying
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Readin` Writin` and Roughhousing……… Engaging the Minds of