Reading Don't Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men

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9780867095098: Reading Don't Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men
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The problems of boys in schools, especially in reading and writing, have been the focus of statistical data, but rarely does research point out how literacy educators can combat those problems. That situation has changed. Michael Smith and Jeff Wilhelm, two of the most respected names in English education and in the teaching of reading, worked with a very diverse group of young men to understand how they use literacy and what conditions promote it. In this book they share what they have learned.

Through a variety of creative research methods and an extended series of interviews with 49 young men in middle and high school who differ in class, race, academic achievement, kind of school, and geography, the authors identified the factors that motivated these young men to become accomplished in the activities they most enjoyed-factors that marked the boys' literate activities outside of school, but were largely absent from their literate lives in school. Their study questions the way reading and literature are typically taught and suggests powerful alternatives to traditional instruction.

Building their findings on their understanding of the powerful and engaging experiences boys had outside of school, Smith and Wilhelm discuss why boys embrace or reject certain ways of being literate, how boys read and engage with different kinds of texts, and what qualities of texts appeal to boys. Throughout, the authors highlight the importance of choice, the boys' need to be shown how to read, the cost of the traditional teaching of difficult canonical texts, and the crucial place of meaningful social activity.

The authors' data-driven findings are provocative, explaining why boys reject much of school literacy and how progressive curricula and instruction might help boys engage with literacy and all learning in more productive ways. Providing both challenges and practical advice for overcoming those challenges, Smith and Wilhelm have produced a book that will appeal to teachers, teacher educators, and parents alike.

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About the Author:

Michael Smith is coauthor with Jeffrey Wilhelm and Michael Smith of Get It Done!; Oh, Yeah?!; and So, What's the Story?. Michael, a professor in Temple University's College of Education, joined the ranks of college teachers after 11 years of teaching high school English. He has won awards for his teaching at both the high school and college levels. His research focuses on understanding how experienced readers read and talk about texts as well as what motivates adolescents' reading and writing out of school. He uses that understanding to think about how to devise more effective and engaging reading and writing instruction for adolescents in school. Michael has cowritten or coedited three other Heinemann books, Going with the Flow; Reflective Teaching, Reflective Learning; and "Reading Don't Fix No Chevys". For Chevys he and coauthor Jeff Wilhelm received the NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English. When he's not working, Michael's likely to be watching or talking about sports, reading, or playing with his granddaughter.

From School Library Journal:

Prompted by research showing that girls as a group consistently outperform boys in tasks related to literacy, the authors attempted to determine the possible reasons behind this disparity, using a variety of techniques with a group of 49 boys of various socioeconomic levels, races, ages, educational histories, etc. The result is an evenhanded examination of boys' opinions about and approaches to literacy. The authors acknowledge the limitations of their research and discuss how their data may reflect these shortcomings but still reveal interesting tendencies within their group. The findings are related closely to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's work on "flow experiences." The authors concede that their conclusions could conceivably apply to girls as well as boys, suggesting that addressing student needs by gender may not be the most productive tactic in establishing and promoting literacy. Still, this clear, easy-to-follow text is worth a look, in large part due to its exploration of student approaches to literacy in school and out and how those attitudes can be applied to develop more effective methods of teaching.
Alison Ching, North Garland High School, Garland, TX
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Heinemann USA, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The problems of boys in schools, especially in reading and writing, have been the focus of statistical data, but rarely does research point out how literacy educators can combat those problems. That situation has changed. Michael Smith and Jeff Wilhelm, two of the most respected names in English education and in the teaching of reading, worked with a very diverse group of young men to understand how they use literacy and what conditions promote it. In this book they share what they have learned. Through a variety of creative research methods and an extended series of interviews with 49 young men in middle and high school who differ in class, race, academic achievement, kind of school, and geography, the authors identified the factors that motivated these young men to become accomplished in the activities they most enjoyed-factors that marked the boys literate activities outside of school, but were largely absent from their literate lives in school. Their study questions the way reading and literature are typically taught and suggests powerful alternatives to traditional instruction. Building their findings on their understanding of the powerful and engaging experiences boys had outside of school, Smith and Wilhelm discuss why boys embrace or reject certain ways of being literate, how boys read and engage with different kinds of texts, and what qualities of texts appeal to boys. Throughout, the authors highlight the importance of choice, the boys need to be shown how to read, the cost of the traditional teaching of difficult canonical texts, and the crucial place of meaningful social activity. The authors data-driven findings are provocative, explaining why boys reject much of school literacy and how progressive curricula and instruction might help boys engage with literacy and all learning in more productive ways. Providing both challenges and practical advice for overcoming those challenges, Smith and Wilhelm have produced a book that will appeal to teachers, teacher educators, and parents alike. Seller Inventory # FLT9780867095098

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