Tuesday, January 5, 2010

23 Top Tips for Boys Writing - Research

Building on the very successful "Me Read, No Way" document, the Province of Ontario released, "Me Read? And How!"

Provided for you below are 23 strategies and ideas to assist our boy writers.

I've included page references for each strategy so you can read more about them in the full document.

1. Boys who were allowed to choose writing topics showed increased motivation and engagement. Page 10

2. Boys are helped by experiencing examples of different text forms. This helped boys in non-fiction writing. Page 15

3. A "guys-only" writing workshop was initiated for a small number of boys. They came away very motivated to write as a result. Page 16

4. Boys planned their writing using graphic organizers both individually and in pairs. Page 17

5. When boys were given assignments with step-by-step instructions, clear expectations and a formula to follow, assignments were completed. Page 23

6. Boys were introduced to the "APE" (answer, prove, extend) strategy to help them to write at a higher level. Page 23

7. Boys saw the importance of an authentic audience and a real purpose when they produced a "Boys Writing for Boys!" newsletter. Page 23

8. Talk is an important scaffold for boys writing activities. Talk builds social interaction, and deepens understanding and is a precursor to writing. Pages 32 and 33.

9. Allow boys to share their thinking through talk prior to a written assignment. It will improve their ability to communicate. Page 34

10. Boys use of the debate to discuss authentic and relevant issues transferred into their non-fiction persuasive writing. Page 35

11. Boys welcome having male role models as writers. Page 39

12. Boys choice of topics for writing allows for ownership. Page 47

13. Schools can tap into the real-life connection by creating blogs for the students to use for class writing. Page 48.

14. Boys prefer to write about real-life and hands-on experiences. Page 49.

15. Boys' writing improved during activities that were highly motivating and grounded in the real world, coupled with direct instruction about the writing form and supported with the use of visuals such as anchor charts, word walls, and graphic organizers. Page 49.

16. Boys like to write about exaggerations, humour, silly writing, rap songs, procedural writing, short scenes. Page 51.

17. ICT in the form of computers, blogs, wikis and digital voice recorders have been used with boys to reinforce writing skills. Page 53.

18. Boys with special needs thrive when given the opportunity to work with assistive technologies: graphic organizers, dictation software. Write and edit in-class compositions electronically allowed them to receive immediate feedback. Page 53.

19. Teachers observed that when the number of paper and pencil tasks was decreased, students were more engaged during the writing activities. Page 55.

20. Boys who design and play video games develop sophisticated operational, cultural and critical literacy skills. Page 57.

21. Boys requested boy friendly topics, a clear outline of what is expected, a shorter writing process and fewer things to fix when they are finished. Page 66.

22. An emphasis on non-fiction writing (Reeves, 2000) Page 79.

23. Boys' teachers placed a heavier emphasis on oral assessment and performance-based assessment, such as drama activities rather than traditional assessments based on writing. Page 82.

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