Books for Boys Multicultural Literature with Strong Male

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Vol 15 No 1 International Journal of Multicultural Education 2013. Literacy skills, Boys continue to score lower than girls on standardized measures of. reading achievement Brozo 2006 Watson 2010 Moreover according to the. National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEP poor Black and Hispanic. boys in the United States score significantly lower than their White male. counterparts at all grade levels Mead 2006 As Zambo and Brozo point out. Those who struggle most to learn how to read who dominate remedial reading. classes and programs and who will suffer disproportionately as adults if they fail. to become competent readers are boys of color 2009 p 3 While educators. do not concur on the reasons for such disparities there is no disagreement. concerning the consequences of inadequate literacy skills Brozo 2002. explains Skillful and critical reading ability is an important tool that boys must. have to become academically successful good readers are better students in. every subject area p 12, While there are countless approaches toward helping students improve. their reading skills many agree that the more students read the more literacy. levels increase Zambo Brozo 2009 Krashen 1996 Whitehead 2004. Krashen 1993 presents this argument, When children read for pleasure when they get hooked on books they. acquire involuntarily and without conscious effort nearly all of the so. called language skills many people are so concerned about They will. become adequate readers acquire a large vocabulary develop the ability. to understand and use complex grammatical instructions develop a good. writing style and become good but not necessarily perfect spellers. Although free voluntary reading alone will not ensure attainment of the. highest levels of literacy it will at least ensure an acceptable level p 84. The path to becoming a proficient reader begins with the spark of interest. in a book The desire to know more about the characters learn additional. information about the topic or discover how the plot ends spurs novice readers. into continuing their journey to increased literacy If boys literacy skills are to. improve they need to have literature that stimulates their interest and engages. them in the process of reading The need for engagement is reinforced by Kelley. and Clausen Grace 2009 whose study indicated that highly engaged readers. demonstrated higher levels of reading achievement than students who were less. engaged p 313 A motivating factor in students interest in reading involves the. ability of students to relate with the material Hughes Hassell Barkley and. Koehler 2010 describe motivation as a key determinant of reading success. Children tend to prefer and are more likely to engage with literature that reflects. their personal experiences Role of Multicultural Literature section para 1. When children see themselves in books they feel included and are more apt to. be enticed into continuing the story Zambo and Brozo 2009 refer to these. books as entry point texts stressing that boys who are able to engage with the. characters are more likely to engage with the text. Vol 15 No 1 International Journal of Multicultural Education 2013. Conversely Hefflin 2001 points out that when readers do not encounter. characters who are like them reading is likely to be frustrating rather than. pleasurable p 810 If appropriate reading material is not made available to. young boys of color if the images and characters they encounter never reflect. their lives or if only negative life experiences are presented then they will have. few opportunities to engage with the text and increase their literacy skills Gangi. 2008 notes White children whose experiences are depicted in books can. make more text to self text to text and text to world connections than can. children of color p 30 Teachers need to consciously include literature that. provides a range of engagement options for their students Specifically they. must ensure that all students can find selections that reflect their families and. their lives so that they have meaningful reading experiences Including reading. material that embraces students cultural backgrounds leads to increased self. esteem and greater receptiveness to learning Agosto 2007. Role Models, A second motive for integrating multicultural literature with strong male. characters into the curriculum the one sought by the teacher at the seminar. involves providing role models for non mainstream males Boys need to. encounter images to which they can relate they need to see males like. themselves demonstrating values worth imitating and characters worth. modeling Zambo Brozo 2009 p 9 Young male readers need to envision. characters like themselves in active roles solving problems undertaking. responsibilities exhibiting leadership accomplishing worthy tasks Positive role. models who look like themselves and have cultural experiences similar to their. own help readers connect with the characters and the text and furnish images of. who they can become Zambo 2007 p 124, All children need to see themselves in the literature they read or that is.
read to them Wilfong 2007 describes the excitement students feel when they. find a text that reflects who they are It is a mirror for their life and it is validating. p 1 Zambo and Brozo 2009 state that the right kind of books books with. characters and themes that promote positive male values will not only serve. admirably as entry point material for boys but will give them identity affirming. and even life altering print experiences p 7, On the other hand when boys from diverse backgrounds see only White. males represented in the literature they read what is the message they are. receiving Not seeing self or representations of one s culture in literature can. activate feelings of marginalization and cause students to question their place. within society Landt 2005 p 694 Sadker 2007 refers to the situation when. groups are not included as the null curriculum and explains that students. consequently lower their opinion about the groups not represented When. children s literature presents only White middle class characters as role models. students come to see this as the norm and view everyone else potentially. including themselves as other Alternatively literature offering a range of. Vol 15 No 1 International Journal of Multicultural Education 2013. characters in active positive roles can engender an appreciation for the diversity. that occurs both within and across social groups and can help students come. to respect and value diversity as natural and enriching Bishop 1997. The images we set before our children influence their view of the world. While picture books in general tell stories introduce concepts and provide. information multicultural picture books do it specifically and with attention. to the details of diversity Through multicultural picture books children. are provided with either a mirror that reflects a cultural experience familiar. to them or a window that offers a view of a cultural experience that is not. their own In both analogies cultural experiences are validated and. broadened for young people Gates 2006, When teachers acknowledge diverse cultures as essential components of. curriculum they reinforce a positive self image for all students and emphasize. the importance of every student s background,Making Selections. Not every piece of literature featuring multicultural characters is an. appropriate choice There are a number of features that need to be considered. when searching for literature to engage males from diverse backgrounds Most. importantly the stories must be authentic and represent characters as real. people not portray them as different or foreign Michael Dorris emphasizes this. point in the foreword to Clambake A Wampanoag Tradition. This is a book about people who are neither exotic nor unusual If. you encountered them at a shopping mall or at a movie theater they. might seem at first glance like anyone else a grandfather proud of. his grandson American as apple pie Clambake does not dispute. this picture but it does extend it Peters 1992, Other aspects to consider require careful reading of the text and. examination of the illustrations There are a number of guidelines available to. assist in this task the following questions were created by synthesizing criteria. from a wide range of evaluation forms Cai 2002 Slapin Seale Gonzales. 1992 Shioshita 1997 These questions are designed to help teachers make. good choices when selecting literature featuring characters from diverse cultural. perspectives, Are the characters part of society and not depicted as outsiders.
Are the characters portrayed as individuals not generic. representations of the culture,Are the characters multi dimensional and dynamic. Are the situations realistic and not perpetuating stereotypes. Vol 15 No 1 International Journal of Multicultural Education 2013. Are problems and conflicts solved by individuals from the culture rather. than by outsiders, Is the language spoken appropriate for the culture. Who tells the story an outsider or an insider, What are the author s qualifications to write about this culture. Even with guidelines locating appropriate books with multicultural. characters can be a daunting task for teachers with little time and minimal. expertise in a diverse array of cultures,Locating literature. The need for literature that appeals to young boys from diverse. backgrounds is considerable however the resources are scarce and difficult to. find While more multicultural books are being published than in the past. selections are still inadequate According to the Cooperative Children s Book. Center CCBC out of the almost 35 000 children s books published from 2002. through 2008 about 7 were about people of color with less than 4 of the. total written by authors of color 2009 These statistics contrast with the. changing data regarding school enrollment In 2006 the U S Census Bureau. reported that a little over 41 of students enrolled in school were of non white. background 2009, The disparity between the need for multicultural selections and their.
availability is further compounded by teachers lack of familiarity with the titles. The multicultural selections that are published are not generally well publicized. nor prominently displayed in mainstream bookstores Locating appropriate books. to arouse the interest of a diverse population of students can be time consuming. and frustrating Teachers with limited time to search out unfamiliar authors and. titles often have to rely on book lists awards and suggestions in textbooks. Unfortunately the book lists that teachers might look to for inspiration. contain a paucity of multicultural choices The Newbery and Caldecott book. awards that teachers are most familiar with include few titles featuring diverse. characters The selections included in textbooks are equally inadequate. emphasizing primarily White middle class characters Gangi 2008 Moreover. the most popular school based book clubs such as Scholastic Books contain. few multicultural selections McNair 2008 reports that the Scholastic s pre. school and K 1 order forms for the 2004 2005 academic year contained 600. selections by White authors and illustrators compared to 34 selections by authors. and illustrators of color p 196, Furthermore according to a study done by Hughes Hassell Barkley and. Koehler 2010 Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Book List 2006 which teachers. frequently use to determine appropriate books for students reading levels. includes 83 5 of books at the transitional reading level which contained one or. Vol 15 No 1 International Journal of Multicultural Education 2013. more White main or secondary characters while only 25 8 contained at least. one character of color and only 2 2 were written by authors of color. Lack of easily accessible resources constrains teachers ability to provide. adequate reading material for their students Teachers cannot teach about what. they do not know Lowery Sabis Burns 2007 According to a study done by. Smolen 2008 Classroom teachers recognize the value of multicultural. literature but often need more information about this literature p 18 If. multicultural literature is to be a part of the curriculum then teachers need to. have knowledge of and access to an ample collection of such books from which. Resources available to help teachers in their quest for choosing quality. multicultural literature include book awards focusing on authors and illustrators. from a specific perspective such as Latin American Middle Eastern Asian. Pacific and Native American see resource section for awards and URLs Most. of the awards include books set in the United States as well as books featuring a. global perspective These awards provide excellent starting points for locating. appropriate resources for classrooms However many of these awards were. established in the middle 1990s and are not very well known outside of specific. interest groups A study conducted in 2010 revealed that less than 10 of. teachers who responded were familiar with awards specific to cultural groups. beyond the Coretta Scott King Award Landt 2011, Other helpful sources include websites focusing on specific perspectives. A short list of highly recommended sites maintained by people with expertise in. for including multicultural literature with male characters in the curriculum describe how to locate and evaluate multicultural literature and present a selection of picture books as examples of high quality books with strong male characters Why is it important to furnish young males with literature that represents

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