Thursday, June 2, 2011

Boys - Literacy and Identity

Article Review:

"Boys who seem uninterested in literacy in the classroom may be enthusiastic readers and writers in different contexts.

Yet the literacy practices that appeal to some boys are not always valued in the context of institutionalized school literacy and may be overlooked, to the frustration of both student and teacher."

Quote: Page 512 Column 1 - Bronwyn T. Williams - Article

B.T. Williams presents a case in this article for boys and what some of them prefer to write about: action, adventure, violence and popular culture.

The author speaks to the fact that "some of our boy writers, who may be creative, passionate writers are being told, explicitly and implicitly, that the reading and writing they are drawn to not only has no value but is also potentially dangerous" -

Page 511 Column 2.

The author describes how the violence in boys' stories is not always about violence for the sake of violence but is included as part of a representation of violence during the story.

The second to last segment of the article talks about Action and its appeal. She says, "action-oriented literacy practices for boys is the way they can use them to make social connections" These type of social connections are very important for our boy learners.

Some larger questions are posed at the end of the article including:

Should I dismiss or prohibit the writing and reading that many boys are drawn to, and if so, why?


Newkirk (2002)
Smith & Wilhelm (2002)
Booth (2002)
Maynard (2002)


  1. What a great question. Perhaps it is healthy for boys to have an outlet for these kinds of ideas and fascination with violence that is actually safer than committing the violence themselves. It may also be a way for them to experiment with how they handle situations or how certain situations make them feel.

  2. Hi Mary Beth,

    Yes, I agree that it is a healthy outlet. Certainly writing about it is a good way to process their thoughts about some interesting situations that may arise in real life.

    Thanks for your comment.