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ERIC Number: EJ1022072
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Combat Sports Bloggers, Mad Scientist Poets, and Comic Scriptwriters: Engaging Boys in Writing on Their Own Terms
Loeper, Rachel
Afterschool Matters, n19 p36-43 Spr 2014
As the program director of a community writing center that serves children and youth ages 5-18, Rachel Loeper sees it all, from 15-year-old spoken word poets to six-year-olds whose first "books" are strung together with yarn. In all of her roles--administrator, teacher, volunteer trainer--she values engaging the most reluctant of young writers. Therefore she began to focus on a few middle school boys who frequented the center, Mighty Writers in South Philadelphia. All were students of color; eight of the 10 were considered to be "at risk" in school because they received free or reduced-priced lunch. They were noisy, rambunctious, and disruptive to other writers. They tended to rush through their prewriting and were careless in their drafting. Revision was a struggle and proofreading barely a thought. Loeper wanted to discover strategies to better engage these boys and others like them in writing in out-of-school time (OST) programs. She wanted these boys to experience what Csikszentmihalyi (1975) calls "flow": the feeling of being fully absorbed in a challenging but enjoyable task. In her research, Loeper found that, before flow can occur, students must be given the opportunity to take small, incremental steps toward engaging in the writing process with the support of adults and peers. They must go through the writing process in safety, with encouragement and real critical feedback from people they know. The onus then is on educators, mentors, parents, and other adults to create engaging and collaborative opportunities through which boys can experience the writing process. In this article, Loeper describes how her inquiry into the experience of 10 boys in Mighty Writers workshops helped her identify some key indicators of engagement that can move boys toward the flow experience.
National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Wellesley Centers for Women, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481. Tel: 781-283-2547; Fax: 781-283-3657; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A