"Reading Don't Fix No Chevys": Literacy in the Lives of Young Men

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Boynton/cook Publ % Hein Attn, 2002 - Education - 224 pages
16 Reviews

The problems of boys in schools, especially in reading and writing, have been the focus of statistical data, but rarely does research point out how literacy educators can combat those problems. That situation has changed. Michael Smith and Jeff Wilhelm, two of the most respected names in English education and in the teaching of reading, worked with a very diverse group of young men to understand how they use literacy and what conditions promote it. In this book they share what they have learned.

Through a variety of creative research methods and an extended series of interviews with 49 young men in middle and high school who differ in class, race, academic achievement, kind of school, and geography, the authors identified the factors that motivated these young men to become accomplished in the activities they most enjoyed-factors that marked the boys' literate activities outside of school, but were largely absent from their literate lives in school. Their study questions the way reading and literature are typically taught and suggests powerful alternatives to traditional instruction.

Building their findings on their understanding of the powerful and engaging experiences boys had outside of school, Smith and Wilhelm discuss why boys embrace or reject certain ways of being literate, how boys read and engage with different kinds of texts, and what qualities of texts appeal to boys. Throughout, the authors highlight the importance of choice, the boys' need to be shown how to read, the cost of the traditional teaching of difficult canonical texts, and the crucial place of meaningful social activity.

The authors' data-driven findings are provocative, explaining why boys reject much of school literacy and how progressive curricula and instruction might help boys engage with literacy and all learning in more productive ways. Providing both challenges and practical advice for overcoming those challenges, Smith and Wilhelm have produced a book that will appeal to teachers, teacher educators, and parents alike.

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Review: Reading Don't Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men

User Review  - Shelley - Goodreads

This one had some helpful tips, but it seemed to suggest that unless a teacher can make reading as instantly gratifying as videogames all hope is lost for getting boys to love books. Also, it sort of made me like boys less... Read full review

Review: Reading Don't Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men

User Review  - Tiffany Cooke - Goodreads

Teenage boys tend to struggle in school, especially in reading and English classes. Boys read all the time, just not in the traditional ways their teachers value. As a result, boys don't see ... Read full review

Contents

A Review of the Current
1
Meet the Crew
21
loch
55
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

An award-winning high school and university teacher, MICHAEL W. SMITH currently teaches English education in the Literacy Cluster of Rutgers Universitys Graduate School of Education. His publications include three monographs from the National Council of Teachers of English, and Authorizing Readers: Resistance and Respect in the Teaching of Literature, written with Peter Rabinowitz. Former Chair of the Literature Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association and co-Chair of NCTEs Assembly for Research, he is coeditor of Research in the Teaching of English.JEFFREY WILHELM was a middle school reading teacher and a high school English teacher for thirteen years. He currently teaches in the PDN network (Professional Development Network) at the University of Maine and is the director of The Maine Writing Project and The Maine Technology for Teachers Institute. Wilhem is the author/coauthor of five other books, including 'You Gotta Be the Book': Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading with Adolescents (Teachers College Press, 1997) and Imagining to Learn: Inquiry, Ethics, and Integration Through Drama(Heinemann, 1998).

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