Thursday, March 20, 2008

Writing for Boys:

I found this to be true when I was teaching; I would love to read about a study which explains why my husband and I can't agree on a movie...wonder if the findings between the genders would be similar?


From the Teacher/Librarian Journal:

From After years of neglect, there is now a growing body of research to explain the reading and non-reading habits of boys. In the first chapter of Michael Smith's indispensable book Reading don't fix no Chevys is a quick review of a dozen major findings of that research related to boys (not just teens) and reading:


Boys don’t comprehend narrative (fiction) as well as girls
Boys have much less interest in leisure reading than girls
Boys are more inclined to read informational texts
Boys are more inclined to read magazine and newspaper articles
Boys are more inclined to read comic books and graphic novels than girls
Boys like to read about hobbies, sports and things they do or want to do
Boys tend to enjoy escapism and humor
Some groups of boys are passionate about science fiction or fantasy
The appearance of a book and cover is important to boys
Few boys entering school call themselves “non-readers” but by high school, over half do
Boys tend to think they are bad readers
If reading is perceived as feminized, then boys will go to great lengths to avoid it
Thus, the boy at the booktalking session saying he doesn't read might simply be saying that he doesn't read what libraries offer.

Most young adult sections in public libraries are filled with fiction; there is little recreational non-fiction. If there is recreational nonfiction, it is more than likely to be self-help, health-related, about teen issues or pop star biographies. There might be magazines, but the chances are they are aimed more at girls than boys. Comic books are more than likely not to be there, and graphic novels, if collected, are not featured. There probably isn't a newspaper lying around. Boys who venture into the YA area will find shelves so jammed that they won't have a catchy cover catch their interest and it is doubtful if anything but new books (which again, no doubt are all fiction) will be on display. Given these choices, the teen boy, especially a younger one, will opt for something safe like a series (boys like brands) only to get the message from a teacher, parent or maybe even a librarian that the book is okay because "at least they are reading something.

1 comment:

Shirtly Dunner said...

This explains a lot - I am a new upper elementary teacher and I struggle with getting my boys to read. It could be I am picking too many classics for them and not enough of what they want. -
Shirley Dunner