Boy Writers: Some Points To Ponder
Before presenting my own workshop on 'Creating Voice and Choice Through The Writer's Notebook' I again had the pleasure of sitting in on Ralph Fletcher's session on 'Boy Writers.' at ALEA Darwin today.
Ralph drew on the research that formed the basis of his book, Boy Writers.' During his presentation.
Some of the matters raised in this workshop included:
Writing for boys is frequently painful if it is writing to a prompt. They feel limited
and don't do as well as a consequence. They feel constrained. This only reinforces the importance of choice and ownership in writing.
Handwriting for boys is sometimes hard. Teachers need to go below the surface of their chicken scratch in order to discover the message and it's intent.
Boys like to have choices in writing topics and like to employ humour as a device in their writing. Many boy writers are attracted to an element of violence and action in their writing.
In the buffet of writing presented to them, many boys don't find much to sink their teeth into.
Teachers need to cross the gender divide and begin to understand the motivations of boy writers.
Boy like parody and satire in their writing. Word play is something that appeals to them as writers. Alerting them to a range of literary elements such as alliteration, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, spoonerisms will assist engagement.
Teachers need to look for the humour in boy's writing and appreciate what the writer is trying to do.
When we look at the drawings and illustrations that accompany children's' writing, you will frequently notice that:
Boys draw things in motion (verbs)
Girls draw objects ( nouns)