Boys and Literacy: Exploring the Issues

Boys and Literacy: Exploring the Issues

Boys and Literacy: Exploring the Issues

Boys and Literacy: Exploring the Issues

Synopsis

In recent years the issue of boys and literacy, namely that they are worse at it compared to girls, has become a key area of interest to all those concerned with the education of our children. This book highlights the key factors causing this divide and discusses the implementation of new strategies to overcome it, which have been the result of extensive qualitative research made by the author. Trisha Maynard reports case study findings of a primary school whose staff wanted to explore and improve boys' attitudes towards and attainment in literacy, and in particular their difficulties with writing. The book highlights issues concerning the reading and writing of stories, what teachers understand by 'good story writing' and the importance of teachers exploring boys' and girls' difficulties with literacy by themselves. It provides significant insight into boys' difficulties with writing as well as informing teachers how to find out about children's attainment.

Excerpt

David Wray, University of Warwick

There can be few areas of educational endeavour which have been more controversial than that of teaching literacy. Perhaps because, in an increasingly information-dense society, the ability to make sense of and to produce text is self-evidently crucial to success, even survival, literacy has assumed the major burden as a litmus test of 'educatedness'. With such a critical role in the process of becoming educated, it is inevitable that there will continue to be major debates about exactly what it means to be literate, and about how such a state might most effectively be brought about - that is, how literacy is taught. A proportion of the energy behind such debates has come from the diverse findings of research into processes and pedagogy. Yet much of the debate, especially in the popular media, has lacked a close reference to research findings and has focused instead on somewhat emotional reactions and prejudices.

Students of literacy and literacy education who want to move beyond the superficiality of mass media debates need access to reports and discussions of key research findings. There is plenty of such material, yet it tends to suffer from two major problems. First, it can be rather difficult to locate as it has tended to be published in a diverse range of academic journals, papers and monographs. Second, research reports are usually written for an academic audience and made great demands on practitioners and others who wish to understand what the practical classroom implications are of what the research reports.

It is to address both these problems, but especially the latter, that this series has been developed. The books in the series deal with aspects of the teaching of literacy and language in a variety of educational settings. The main feature of all the contributing volumes is to provide a research-grounded background for teaching action in literacy and language. The books either, therefore, provide a review of existing research and theory, or an account of original research in an area, together with a clear résumé and/or set of suggestions as to how this background might influence the teaching of this area. The series acts therefore as a bridge between academic research books and practical teaching handbooks.

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