Boy Writers

I have been reading Ralph Fletcher's book, Boy Writers -Reclaiming Their Voices in which Ralph puts forward the view that teachers need to broaden the circle and provide boy writers with greater choice if we want to more fully engage them as writers. Ralph articulates the view that boys come to writing with unique issues and perceptions of the world and if we want them to remain in the game, we need to understand the world in this frequently reside.

This approach does not advocate promoting the interests of boys at the expense of girls, rather, there are approaches that can be incorporated into our teaching that will lead to boys more fully embracing writing. Each chapter of the book contains many practical suggestions under the heading, 'What Can I Do In My Classroom?'

The aim of the book is to be practical, not political.The book also contains a number of samples of boys writing. They provide concrete examples of what motivates boy writers. They are included as models of strong writing by boys, which the book's author wants teachers to use as models of craft elements.

"We must begin by coming to grips with the qualities boys bring to the table. To the extent that we really understand them we can become more skilled, more complete writing teachers."
Page 8, Boy Writers -Reclaiming Their Voices, Ralph Fletcher.

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 much more. For those of you who have recognized a need to more fully engage your boy writers, Ralph Fletcher's book provides much practical support. Oh boy, its worth a look!


  1. Thanks for mentioning my book. It's a fascinating issue (gender differences) and it can make people nervous, or even angry, but it's worth exploring. Anybody who works in writing classrooms knows that that majority of our struggling writers boys. In book, I look at ways we can create do a better job of engaging boys in writing.


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