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

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  228 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published March 12th 2002 by Heinemann Educational Books
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This took me a while to get through, but I really enjoyed it. It helped me think about and analyze the research that I have done because it is so thorough and detailed. The end though, was particularly interesting and applicable because it took the data and drew more global implications from it. I felt like these implications influenced how I think about reading in the classroom and also teacher-student relationships- I definitely will be putting some of those things into practice.
Michael Brockley
In "READING DON'T FIX NO CHEVIES", authors Michael W. Smith and Jeffrey D. Wilhelm tackle the problem posed by the resistance boys often display in response to "schoolish" reading demands. This book is an exegesis of the author's research into the aforementioned topic. Although the same size is small, the authors discover issues which warrant more investigation. Among such topics are: Social relations are important to boys; boys recognize the importance of literacy, in theory; boys have regular ...more
I thought that this was a very good look at the underlying factors of literacy. While it is not an extensive resource for strategies to implement within the classroom, it looks at the underlying psychological basis of literacy as it applies to young males. In this way, it challenges teachers to consider each student as an individual. It also challenges teachers to find novel ways to connect each individual student back to the content of instruction. I felt that many of the ideas, while directed ...more
Tiffany Cooke
Teenage boys tend to struggle in school, especially in reading and English classes. Boys read all the time, just not in the traditional ways their teachers value. As a result, boys don't see themselves as readers and that affects their abilities in school. Michael Smith and Jeff Wilhelm use research and interviews with forty-nine guys to show teachers how to build literacy for the young men in our classrooms. Their findings are easily implemented. A must read for language arts teachers.
I taught this book earlier in the term and paired it with _Just Girls_, which is a study of adolescent girls' literacy practices and use of literacy to negotiate identity. _Reading Don't Fix_ is enthusiastic and fun, especially the discussion of "the flow" experience. In the end, however, I felt that the research oversimplified and wrote off a lot of theories of masculinity (Kimmel and Kaufman, for instance.) Good for an introductory course, though.
For teachers, this is a great text for understanding what motivates teen boys to read, and how you can interact with them in the classroom to keep them engaged.

It had some useful tips for our upcoming male reader's advisory program at Ohionet, especially on what I would call male reading "trends." (Please sign up so that all of my hard work doesn't go to waste!)
Laura (booksnob)
I have not finished this book yet and am not sure I will. I am stuck in the middle of chapter four. This book just doesn't flow for me. I can't get through the student part where I think the authors should have edited. Reading text the way students speak with lots of you know's and like, bugs me. I will probably revist this book but for now, I GIVE UP!
This book definitely made me do some thinking about how we approach literacy in the lives of young men in our schools. Boys read differently than girls and they prefer reading different texts and we need to acknowledge that in our schools. If we did, maybe we'd see more success in literacy in the boys in our schools.
A fascinating look at how and boys read, this book would be great for any teacher,librarian, administrator, or parent to reflect on boys' reading habits, which tend to differ from typical girls' choices. It also suggests that we need to alter the traditional view of what is "acceptable, valuable" reading material.
A bit repetitive, but nevertheless an enlightening look at how boys/young men view reading, and how teachers can teach them better.

7/21/09 - Several professors have cited this book since I read it this spring. It's definitely making the rounds in the College of Ed.
Eddie Eifler
An excellent window into the individual face behind the mountain of statistics, this book deals with ways in which young boys get turned off on reading and writing, and ways in which teachers can attempt to reach the unreachable male student.
Julie Aquilina
Lots of good case studies and a catchy title. Made me think a lot about how one inspires "flow" in any reluctant reader. Wished there was more practical application stuff for the classroom overall. Still an interesting read, nonetheless.
Nov 26, 2008 jacky marked it as to-read
Shelves: education
I hear a lot about this book, but have not yet gotten to reading it. I think it might be a good one for this summer though since I think with the combining of academic and basic I will have more students with this mentality about reading.
Lori Sharp
SO TRUE! Filled with great ideas to connect with boys through literature. Makes me even more interested to do some more research in same-sexed reading groups.
Helpful, applicable ways to get young men interested and focused in reading. I think most educators would find this book enjoyable and enlightening.
Jun 21, 2009 Bug marked it as to-read
Highly recommended to me by very experienced teachers--So I feel confident recommending it without reading. Have not yet had time to read.
Jack Conway
Mar 02, 2008 Jack Conway rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: English teachers
Recommended to Jack by: school
The sixth chapter inspired me as much as the first five bored me. I guess they had to set the table before we could eat.
Cindy Dean
We absolutely have to find ways to reach our boy readers. This book offers some excellent theories.
I came across this book while researching the implications of a "reading specialist" major.
A very good book that will help any parent or teacher who deals with reading reluctant learners.
Stephen Starr
Don't give up on boys, they just read in a different way than schools expect them to.
crisis time with boys and reading, sitting on the fence with this one
Opened my eyes to not just boy readers but all my readers.
very interesting research on boys and reading.
Dec 30, 2014 Rebecca marked it as to-read
Recommended to Rebecca by: Tamara
Still need to read this.
Heidi marked it as to-read
Nov 09, 2015
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Nov 05, 2015
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author 2 6 Jul 30, 2015 02:05PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Michael W. Smith is Professor of Literacy Education, College of Education, Temple University.
- Ph.D. University of Chicago. Special Field: Curriculum and Instruction.
- M.A.T. University of Chicago. Major Emphases: English and Education
- B.A. University of Chicago. Major: English
More about Michael W. Smith...

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