Boys and Literacy: Practical Strategies for Librarians, Teachers, and Parents

By Elizabeth Knowles; Martha Smith | Go to book overview
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Introduction

A surprising amount of research has appeared in the last five years about boys and what is happening to them academically at school, especially in the area of literacy. The research is continuing into the university and graduate school years and even drawing from current brain research.

The situation appears to be serious, so much so that resources advising teachers and parents what to do differently with boys and learning are appearing frequently. It will be necessary for all involved to read the research, recognize the issues, and then make the commitment to create a difference for the sake of boys.

We have included a section that provides strategies for change for teachers and parents and a whole school reading plan that suggests a paradigm shift in the approach to reading, with special focus on the needs of boys.

There are 11 genre chapters: humor, adventure, information/nonfiction, fantasy/science fiction, horror/mystery, sports, war, biography, history, graphic novels, and realistic fiction. Each chapter contains generic discussion questions, annotated titles, and a bibliography sorted by topic, nonfiction, and picture books where appropriate. There is also an annotated professional journal article.

Since authors often share interesting anecdotes about their school years and their early feelings about reading and writing, appendix A provides author information including contact information to encourage teachers, librarians, and parents to connect with these authors and learn more about them. Often authors will respond to letters and e-mails, and certainly publicists will send photos, bookmarks, biographical information, etc. With the author information we have included extensive booklists, since we have found that boys like to read all the titles a favorite author has published. We found the online subscription database at http://www.authors4teens.com to be a valuable resource and would like to thank Greenwood Publishing for allowing us to utilize the information for our authors' section. We have also found Bernard Drew's 100 More Popular Young Adult Authors (Libraries Unlimited, 2002) and Sharron McElmeel's Children 's Authors and Illustrators Too Good to Miss (Libraries Unlimited, 2004) to be excellent resources for information on authors that can be easily shared with students. Since we are encouraging students to contact these authors, we have included only living authors.

Since we also strongly believe in the use of magazines for piquing boys' reading interests, appendix B lists magazines boys will enjoy. Each listing gives a description, appropriate age levels, and complete subscription information. We would also like to recommend another wonderful resource from Libraries Unlimited, the Children's Magazine Guide: A Subject Index to Children 's Magazines and Web Sites, published at the end of each month. See http://www.childrensmag.com for subscription pricing and information. The information on magazines used in this book is used with permission from Kristina Sheppard, the editor of the Children 's Magazine Guide.

We also recognize the up-and-coming graphic novel area. These novels are a wonderful way to entice boys, as they feature superheroes, quests, monsters, and strange adventures. We are finding that more and more publishers are including a [graphic novel] format in their publishing list and that DC Comics,

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