Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices

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Stenhouse Publishers, Jan 1, 2006 - Education - 190 pages
22 Reviews

Writing test scores indicate that boys have fallen far behind girls across the grades. In general, boys don't enjoy writing as much as girls. What's wrong? How can we do a better of job of creating “boy-friendly” classrooms so their voices can be heard?

In Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices Ralph Fletcher draws upon his years of experience as staff developer, children's book author, and father of four boys. He also taps the insights from dozens of writing teachers around the US and abroad. Boy Writers asks teachers to imagine the writing classroom from a boy's perspective, and consider specific steps we might take to create stimulating classrooms for boys.

Topic choice emerges as a crucial issue. The subjects many boys like to write about (war, weapons, outlandish fiction, zany or bathroom humor) often do not get a warm reception from teachers. Ralph argues that we must “widen the circle” and give boys more choice if we want to engage them as writers. How? We must begin by recognizing boys and the world in which they live. Boy Writers explores important questions such as:

  • What subjects are boy writers passionate about, and what motivates them as writers?
  • Why do boys like to incorporate violence into their stories, and how much should be allowed?
  • Why do we so often misread and misunderstand the humor boys include in their stories?

In addition, the book looks at: how handwriting can hamstring boy writers, and how drawing may help; welcoming boy-friendly writing genres in our classrooms; ways to improve our conferring with boys; and more.

Each chapter begins with a thorough discussion of a topic and ends with a highly practical section titled: "What can I do in my classroom?" Boy Writers does not advocate promoting the interests of boys at the expense of girls. Rather, it argues that developing sensitivity to the unique facets of boy writers will help teachers better address the needs of all their students.


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Review: Boy Writers

User Review  - Christine DePetrillo - Goodreads

Finally a book that realizes writing about swords, guns, and the occasional invasion doesn't always signify a deep emotional problem. A must read for anyone who teaches writing to boys. Read full review

Review: Boy Writers

User Review  - Stephanie - Goodreads

I come to Fletcher's thinking and writing with strong beliefs of my own, both about teaching and about raising a boy. After reading Fletcher's Boy Writers, there are two concepts that bother me. The ... Read full review


1 The Trouble with Boys
2 Failure to Thrive
3 The Gender Filter
4 Rules of DisEngagement
The Matter of Choice
6 Violent Writing
7 Humor
8 Handwriting
Language Issues
13 Drawn to the Page
Writing Genres That Appeal to Boys
15 BoyFriendly Territory
16 Dramatic Transformations
Persnickety Questions
18 A Personal Note
Appendixes AE

9 Classroom Conversation
10 Writing Conferences
11 A Dialogue with Carl Anderson

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About the author (2006)

Ralph Fletcher has always been a special person for children's literature. He is the author of picture books, nonfiction, and novels for young readers. How to Write Your Life Story is the fifth book in Mr. Fletcher's series of instructional writing books, which includes A Writer's Notebook, Live Writing, How Writers Work, and Poetry Matters. Mr. Fletcher lives with his family in New Hampshire.

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