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"To Be a Boy, to Be a Reader"
Transcript of "To Be a Boy, to Be a Reader"
William G. Brozo
(Presented by Diane Goodliffe)
Why worry about male literacy?
10 Male Archetypes
Examples of Two Archetypes
These positive male images are present throughout literature. One book may contain various male archetypes, or a single character that exemplifies multiple archetypes. Here are two examples...
Your students may not instantly understand or value the characteristics displayed in male archetypes. Here are some ideas for expanding their understanding...
What can we do?
Carl Jung's Positive Male Archetypes
Brozo's book primarily focuses on this theory and how it can be integrated into the classroom.
Things to Remember
-Look for literary entry points.
-Pick material that appeals to students' interests, especially boys'.
-Look for fiction and non-fiction material that contain male archetypes.
-Forcing students to read does not lead to engagement.
-Engaged literacy takes time.
Brozo, W. (2002). "To be a boy, to be a reader: Engaging teen and preteen boys in active literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
-Boys have the lowest scores on standardized assessments of reading and verbal ability.
-Remedial reading classes are filled with boys.
-Most dropouts and delinquents are males.
-Dropouts are likely to have weak literacy skills, be underemployed or unemployed, and become criminal offenders.
-Engaged readers have a greater chance of staying in school and maturing into successful adults.
Boys' Perception of Reading
-"Reading is boring"
-"Reading is nerdy."
-"Reading is for girls."
*Reinforced by large amount of female reading teachers, female-centered curriculum choices, and dishonoring of male reading topics.
Find Literary Entry Points
-Main goal: Help students enter into the world of reading.
-Support whatever ways this can be accomplished (i.e. magazines, music, comic books, non-fiction interest books).
Consider Student Interests
-Students are more likely to approach reading with apathy if they cannot relate to or apply what they are reading.
-Use strategies like Reading Interest Inventories and interviews to select books that appeal to student interests.
Reverse Reading Stigmas
-Bring in honorable adult males who enjoy reading.
-Discuss your interest in "male" topics (i.e. sports, horror, war).
-Select books that address and validate more "male" topics for both male and female readers.
Popular Culture and Masculinity
-From a young age, both boys and girls are assaulted with negative images of men.
-Media has a narrow view of masculinity (womanizing, materialistic, and macho).
-Many students grow up in broken homes with absent or dysfunctional fathers.
"According to Jung, in order for a male to become a true man, he must rediscover his spiritual, inner self" (Brozo, 2002, p.24).
-10 male archetypes in literature guide boys on their journey of self-discovery.
-"An archetype is an inherited idea or mode of thought that is derived from the experience of the race and present in the unconscious of the individual" (Brozo, 2002, p. 14).
Definition: "A spiritual figure of great antagonism who insists on battling falsehoods and telling the truth to society without regard to his own safety, success, or welfare" (Arnold, 1995, p.33).
Definition: "The impish side of the masculine spirit, poking fun of pomposity, ostentation, and self-righteousness" (Brozo, 2002, p. 42).
Read a book like "Never Cry Wolf," a naturalist's account of surviving in the Arctic Circle while studying wolves. Then...
-Have students write an email from the main character to a family member at home, detailing his experiences living alone in the wild.
-Follow the book with a field trip to a local state park or zoo, where students can interview rangers and employees about animal conservation.
-Have students write personal statements that use the word "love."
-Ask them to discuss in pairs whether each sentence used the word "love" in the same way.
-Have a class-wide discussion about the literal and figurative meanings of the word.
Brozo's book contains an appendix of 300 books for teen boys, divided into the ten male archetypes and labeled as "adolescent novels", "informational books", or "easier reading.
An initiative created by Jon Scieszka, a famous children's book author, that focuses on the importance of helping boys become active readers.
Don't forget your librarian!
Your school and community librarians are experts on the literature that you have free access to. Make sure you ask them about books for boys.
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
In Literature: Maniac crosses over the invisible white-black dividing line in Jerry Spinelli's "Maniac Magge."
In literature: A young Roald Dahl gets back at a mean candy shop owner by putting a dead mouse in one of her candy jars in "Boy: Tales of Childhood."