Thursday, July 18, 2013

Guy-Write by Ralph Fletcher

176 Pages
ISBN-10: 0805094040
What a fun read! I'd recommend this to all K-8 teachers. I'd also recommend this to parents desiring to inspire their particularly writing-resistant sons. Ralph Fletcher writes Guy-Write with the hope of inspiring young boys to pursue writing even if they have not exactly received support for their very boyish interests such as slapstick humor, gore, or the classic boy pastime, the fart.

The book is written in a friendly and fun-loving tone and Fletcher calls upon his own experiences of hesitating to write when he was young. Additionally, he raised two boys and shares many anecdotes about the crazy (and often unpopular school topics) they enjoyed writing about. Each chapter includes illustrations from kids, entertaining examples in different genres, and little Post It® type notes as reminders about how to succeed in each genre.

For those instructors who teach writing in a "writers" workshop format, perhaps similar to those spearheaded by Lucy Calkins and her work with The Teachers College at Columbia University, you will be pleased to see a section on keeping a "writer's notebook" and the different ways to use it as a source for capturing ideas and practicing the craft of writing. He also includes a section about drawing before writing as a way to get and organize ideas, an idea embraced by many teachers who try to get reluctant writers going.

The whole idea behind the book is to get boys writing. Plain and simple. While he acknowledges that there may be few opportunities to write a serious essay on flatulence, he also argues (and I completely agree) that boys need to have "permission" to write about the things that interest them so they can master the craft of writing. Let's be honest. Few people get excited about subordinate clauses, except we odd lovers of language who adore the subordinate clause, so why not get kids writing about topics that get their juices flowing and becoming the writers we know they can be?

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