This article is the first in a series that summarizes and reflects upon the Ontario Ministry of Education 2009 document Me Read? And How!
The first strategy advocated for improving boys’ literacy:
Have the right stuff
In choosing appropriate reading materials for boys, non-traditional text forms must be integrated into regular classroom instructional practices and aligned with curriculum expectations (12); however, the main underlying premise is to let student CHOOSE their own reading materials. Thus, a literature circle approach works best for getting students to read, write and share on a regular basis.
7 BEST PRACTICES for selecting materials to engage boys (and girls) in literacy!
- a variety of sources/types of reading materials, “such as magazines, newspapers, comic books, graphic novels, picture books…, joke and riddle books, instruction manuals, information books,… websites and other digital texts” (9), manga, trivia books, humorous poetry, and detective fiction
- texts in which boys can see themselves, because “…boys like to see themselves reflected in the books they read…” (9) which includes familiar cultural backgrounds
- topics of interest to them, like music, sports, biographies, and issues (drugs, relationships, gangs, bullying, history, science and ethics)
- high interest genres: action, mystery, fantasy, detective fiction, real-life problems, superheroes, how-to and information
- materials with graphical features like statistics, diagrams, maps, and illustrations
- popular series’ that will prompt further reading: sequels and book by the same author
If you have additional suggestions, please comment below!
Next Boys’ Literacy Strategy: #2 – Help Make it a Habit