One of the first words that comes to mind when I think about boys and literacy is INTEREST. When approaching literacy skill development for boys, it is very important to consider their interests. Boys are motivated by material of interest , so when you know their interests you have a great set of clues as to how to engage them in the learning process. I recognize this can also be true for girls, but I believe it is even more imperative to be attentive to the interests of boys. I have definitely found myself doing a lot of “out of the box” thinking when it comes to understanding how to engage boys as active learners.
The reason I say it is important to attend to the interests of boys is because most Moms, myself included, are navigating new territory when it comes to raising boys and preparing them for school.
As a mom of 3 boys, one of whom will be starting Kindergarten in the fall, I am concerned on a daily basis about what I know to be true in many of today’s classrooms. I am concerned my son’s interest in asking thousands of questions about the world around him will be silenced by the expectation for him to sit still and attend to the teacher.
I am not alone with this feeling of concern. Many families are very concerned about what they are seeing with their sons in today’s classrooms.
A recent study from the University of Georgia discusses this idea of the “approaches to learning” , and opens the door to more discussions about what is happening in our schools.
Are you concerned?
Hello everyone! Apologies for the brief hiatus from Wordy Wednesday! With the month of April being National Poetry Month, all topics will center around the writing and reading of poetry.
For young children, poetry is a powerful tool for learning to read. Poetry helps children build vocabulary, recognize language patterns, develop listening skills, and enjoy the playfulness of words.
With young boys, one of the greatest aspects of poetry is the freedom to write about their interests. As I have mentioned countless times before, and will continue to mention, attending to the interests of boys is so important.
Also, for those of you who have reluctant writers at home, poetry can be a great tool because a poem can be short and familiar. Here’s a resource for using Haiku with reluctant boy writers . A fun book to use with boys for Haiku is If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky because the poems focus on animals and are puzzles to be solved with clues from the pictures.
Today is World Autism Awareness Day .
An updated report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 1 in 54 boys is identified on the Autism Spectrum .
In conversations with moms of boys, a common theme often begins to emerge centered around observations of how their boys are constantly in motion. As a mom of three boys, I am aware of their moving bodies all of the time, and I know it is because they are learning at every turn.
Boys learn in motion.
I believe moms become focused on the constant motion of their boys because our society at large does not embrace their exuberance. When boys enter school and demonstrate high levels of activity, the most common recommendation from teachers is a referral for an ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) evaluation leading to medication. I believe strongly in considering alternatives to medication. I do not believe boys need to be medicated to be successful in school.
Boys learn in motion.
In observations of early childhood classrooms, I have found teachers are redirecting behavior of boys more often than that of girls. I believe this contributes to boys disengaging from school at a young age. Wouldn’t you decide you don’t like school if every time you go it feels as though you cannot do anything right?
I have had many conversations with parents who are hesitant to engage teachers in conversations about how often their sons are redirected in class. I encourage and support them in approaching teachers and creating a dialogue around nurturing the nature of their sons.
Boys need advocates in schools. It is imperative that we begin to change the discourse in classrooms and in parent groups related to boys.
Boys learn in motion.
Boys’ Achievement Matters! — Dr. S. Moyers