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Lesson Plan

Boys Read: Considering Courage in Novels

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Boys Read: Considering Courage in Novels

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 45- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Ridley Park, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



What motivates young readers? Research suggests that many boys are drawn to books that spark discussion and offer positive role models. In this multisession lesson, students choose one such novel to read and study. Each of the recommended novels deals in some way with the concept of courage, and students are asked to consider how individuals can demonstrate courage through their everyday actions. Students read and discuss their chosen text with peers, use online tools to review the main events, and draft a persuasive essay about their novel. Note: This lesson can be paired with the ReadWriteThink companion lesson "Girls Read: Online Literature Circles."

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  • Suggested Booklist: Students looking for realistic fiction featuring strong male protagonists will find a wealth of options on this recommended reading list.

  • Graphic Map: Have students use this interactive Web tool to keep track of story events as they read.

  • Persuasion Map: Students can use this interactive Web tool to map out the structure of their persuasive essays.

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Brozo, W.G. (2002). To be a boy, to be a reader: Engaging teen and preteen boys in active literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Reading novels with strong male protagonists can boost self-esteem and help students identify with positive male role models. It is imperative for teachers to find quality literature that will capture boys' interests.

  • Although journal writing offers many benefits, boys are often reluctant to express their feelings and emotions by traditional or e-mail journaling. To motivate boys, teachers should allow them to focus on a story's actions rather than their feelings toward a story character.

  • Alternative response modes (other than traditional journals) are more likely to yield a desired level of language production and sustain boys' interests in writing.


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