CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 19 . . . . May 23, 2003
David Booth has once again provided a readable, thoughtful look at a current literacy issue, this time a look at the declining involvement of boys with books both reading and writing and how the trend might be countered. Even Hockey Players Read makes a worthwhile contribution to a teacher’s and parent’s understanding of the literacy needs of boys. As with other Booth titles (for example Reading and Writing in the Middle Years), he places most of his emphasis on practical ideas for the classroom and the home but provides also a number of excerpts from theoretical sources to support his ideas. Even Hockey Players Read presents an overview of reading and writing strategies Booth judges to be most helpful in promoting the authentic interaction of boys with books.
Hockey Players Read has five parts: Understanding the Literacy
Lives of Boys, Helping Boys Become Print Powerful, Assisting Boys
in Becoming Writers, Structuring Literacy Events for Boys, Building
a Literacy Community, an extensive bibliography of boy friendly books
and an index. “Understanding the Literacy Lives of Boys”
provides a general introduction to the issue of boys’ literacy
(I note with interest that Booth employs this more inclusive term
rather than “reading and writing” which he has used in
past books). Booth deals here with issues such as the general observation
of teachers that girls like to read and boys do not, fathers who read
only the newspaper, and boys who prefer time with television and computers
instead of with books. “Helping Boys Become Print Powerful”
looks at the needs of boys to learn more about comprehension strategies
from teachers who must be aware of what boys find to be motivational.
“Assisting Boys in Becoming Writers” looks at giving boys
an opportunity to examine their life stories, to be involved in drama
and to write poetry. “Structuring Literacy Events for Boys”
looks at modeling, fostering inquiry projects and assessing boys’
work. “Building a Literacy Community” examines the role
of connecting school and home and gathering resources for boys to
develop literacy. Appendices include a lengthy list of interview questions
to probe boys’ literacy habits and attitudes (e.g. Are reading
tests fair? What section of a bookstore would you visit first?), a
long list of resources (e.g. Picture Books for Boys, Books for Older
Boy Readers) and an index.
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