Offer four very specific ways you believe you will be able to introduce YA literature into your future classrooms.
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An overarching theme for the classroom might be useful in establishing a guiding force for both teachers and students. Let's say the theme is "Man's inhumanity to man." Novels which would fit into this theme could range from classic novels like The Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird all the way to more contemporary works like Elie Wiesel's Night.
GREAT TOPIC. One that is very dear to my heart.
1. Roll model: I read in front of my students. I talk about what I am reading as often as possible. When I see students reading for pleasure I ask about the book. I start casual conversations with students by saying, "What's the best book you've read lately?" or "What are you reading right now?" I make reading part of my teaching culture.
2. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card): I have taught this book as a novel study to as many classes as I can fit it in. It is the one book that has had the most consistent positive response from all kinds of students from all backgrounds, ability levels, ages, and interest in reading.
3. Friday Silent Reading: I teach high school and I require 45 minutes of silent reading in class every Friday. Students may read any BOOK they want as long as it is on their reading level. With a class full of non-readers, this assignment is only difficult for about the first 2 weeks. Once I can get a stuent into something he or she likes, I find that all of my classes relish this time as much as I do. And, again, I read my own book with them.
4. I create and continually update "Student favorites" reading lists. I also have "book talks" once a month and encourage students to recommend books to each other.
I like to give "book talks" in which I summarized many books in quick succession and allow students to choose reads which most interest them. I also enjoy integrating curriculum by combining multiple subject areas, such as literature and history, and offering students many YA novels to choose from within a certain historical context.
In a class of struggling learners, YA lit. can play a very valuable role. What I try to do is to look for books that are written on the Young Adult level but that have similar themes or even the same storylines as classics that we will later study. For example, when I used to teach Romeo and Juliet to all levels of 9th graders, I would have them read books like Son of the Mob in lit. circles to get them interested in the storyline. This worked very well, and created interest and a can-do attitude when we approached the classics.
I would think that answers can vary with such a wide topic. One particular way in which Young Adult literature can be introduced into the classroom would be to discuss character development. Tracing the attributes and social situations that are presented in YA literature can yield a wonderful discussion about choices, character development, and the promotion of healthy and sound decision making. On a more academic level, YA literature can be offered to struggling readers in the hopes of providing a more relevant cultural context that will "hook" struggling readers into literature. Certain types of YA literature can be linked to specific disciplines in the hopes of enhancing ideas brought out in the context. For example, in studying a historical unit on the Holocaust, Anderson's work "Speak" can be an excellent resource that illuminates the tyranny of the community and the need to validate every voice in a social setting.
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