Misreading Masculinity: Boys, Literacy, and Popular Culture

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Heinemann, 2002 - Education - 202 pages

Post-Columbine has been a time when the issues of popular culture and the behavior of boys have generated more heat than light. This complex, contested intersection has led to censorship and worse-alarm, irrationality, and a failure to examine our ways of teaching, particularly teaching literacy to boys. In this book Tom Newkirk takes an up-close and personal look at elementary boys and their relationship to sports, movies, video games, and other venues of popular culture. Unlike the alarmists, he sees these media not as enemies of literacy, but as resources for literacy.

Through a series of extraordinary interviews, Newkirk listens to young boys, and girls, who describe the pleasure they take in popular culture. They explain the ways in which they use visual narratives in their writing. They even defend their use of violence in their work. Newkirk disproves the simplistic stereotype of boys who are primed to imitate the violence they see. He shows that, rather than mimic, boys most often transform, recombine, and participate in story lines, and resist, mock, and discern the unreality of icons of popular culture.

Using a mixture of memoir, research project, cultural analysis, and critique of published findings, Newkirk encourages schools to ask questions about what counts as literacy in boys and what doesn't, to allow in their literacy programs boys' diverse tastes, values, and learning styles. In other words, if we want boys to join "the literacy club," then we have to invite them in with genres of their own choosing.

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User Review  - jckeen - LibraryThing

Although I tagged this book as one that boy's will enjoy, it is really for the teacher looking for an understanding of what draws boys to reading. Thomas Newkirk's misreading masculinity is a great ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - delzey - LibraryThing

if you want to understand boys, if you want to understand your sons, if you want to understand you husbands and brothers, if you want to know why boys (and men) have problems with reading and literacy, check this out. Read full review


The Crisis in Boyhood
Making Sense of the Gender Gap
A Respectful Meditation on Resistance tB

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About the author (2002)

THOMAS NEWKIRK is a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire and the former director of that school's freshman English program. He has studied literacy learning at a variety of educational levelsfrom preschool to college. Newkirk is the coeditor of Taking Stock: The Writing Process Movement in the 90s (Boynton/Cook, 1994), and the editor of Nuts & Bolts: A Practical Guide to Teaching College Composition (Boynton/Cook, 1993).

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