Many of you who are my colleagues already know I am a huge advocate of boys literacy. It is my passion and it is my goal to help other teachers and educators understand the world boys live in and what will motivate them to read and write.
Today was one of those days in my classroom where I had to smile and say to myself WOW! So far this year I have incorporated some of Kelly Gallagher’s strategies for reading and writing. My students are doing one pagers, they are doing article of the week, and I am taking the approach he does with his students and letting my students read a novel without me interrupting every chapter and incorporating worksheets after every three chapters. In addition to the Gallagher strategies, I am infusing some of Ralph Fletcher’s ideas about letting boys choose their own topics when it comes to writing. Today I was seeing the pay off. First, in one of my 7th grade classes one of the boys commented on the novel we are reading and stated,”It is nice to read a book without having to do a summary after every page.” All I could do was smile. Upon receiving that positive feedback, another young man spoke up saying,”That is why I don’t read anymore.”. Can you say Readacide? I smiled again, but I know I have a long road ahead of me to get these students excited again about reading. On the other hand, it has already began.
Later on in the day, I had the students do writing into the day and I had two separate boys write short stories. One was about a girl scout getting shot over her delicious cookies. He proceeded to describe it like a hunter watching his pray through a scope on a gun. I thought it was about hunting deer, not a girl scout. The other boy wrote about a man who was diagnosed with cancer and was told by his doctor he only had so long to live. He then went to the diner to eat breakfast and was shot prematurely in a robbery before he died of cancer. His story continued with the man’s family suing the doctor because he died sooner than what the doctor said. I am not a huge fan of violence, but both of those students had some brilliant creativity. Both stories even had elements of humor. I applauded both of them and asked them how they came up with their ideas. They both shrugged but wanted to continue their writing. They were actively engage in their writing and they wanted to write. In the words of Vector on the Disney movie Dispicable Me, OH YEAH!
Today I became more convinced boys will like reading and writing if you give them the chance to like it. I know I won’t reach every young man, but I can sure try!