Friday, December 12, 2008

Bright Beginnings for Boys: Engaging Young Boys in Active Literacy

Earlier this week my friend Barb gave me an article from the most recent IRA magazine about a new book called Bright Beginnings for Boys: Engaging Young Boys in Active Literacy by Debby Zambo and William G. Bronzo. The joy of technology is that I was able to down load the first chapter from the book. The first chapter is titled Nurturing Young Male Readers. I am not a researcher. I am a practitioner, so this information helps me work with my students.

What I really liked about this chapter is how it addresses capturing boys’ imaginations. Zambo and Bronzo talk about using picture books that have positive male characters (I argue that it must be true in novels and graphic novels too.) and how boys relate to the actions and emotions of the characters. This was very evident in my class this week when I brought out An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco. 25 of my 29 students heard this story last year in second grade. I heard many boys say “this is such a sad story!” When I asked do you want me to read something else the chorus of “NO” was very clear. I agree with the authors that “Thinking about how characters feel allows boys to step outside themselves in to someone else…”

While I read the chapter I thought of the Guys Read book club and how the boys reacted to all the books we have read. Their favorite books are the ones with positive role models (I guess Greg in Wimpy Kid is positive!). They take it outside to role playing their own version of Lightening Thief.

I often hear teachers and parents say “Boys only read non-fiction.” I find this not to be true. I have given the guys many non-fiction books as possible book club books and they have not chosen one. They want the characters.

As I read more of the book I know it will inspire me to post more of my thoughts.

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