Is the short story, The Most Dangerous Game appropriate to read with a class of 9th Graders with learning difficulties?
The story has some challenging language, but the content is very intriguing and that adds to its accessibility. Begin by frontloading the content, explaining vocabulary and the basic plot. Then take time to review the story as you read. You can also use a tape or read it out loud.
This would be a great story to read with any group of high school students. Students will have varying opinions on the ethics of hunting. There will also be lots of interest on how Rainsford's character changes from beginning to ending. The story is very visual and appealing as well.
The previous thoughts were all very strong. I would add that I do believe that the story can be read with the class. The manner in which you choose to approach it is going to be critical. Building off of the post it idea from the last post, I would suggest that the use of storyboards might be a good thing. I would read the story aloud to the students and give them a sheet of paper that has both a box for a picture and lines underneath it for explanation. As you read for the period, I would have them listen intently and then stop class with about ten minutes to go for them to draw a picture of the day's reading and action with an explanation of what their picture shows and why they consider that to be the part of the the daily reading that stuck with them. By the end of the story, they will have created their own small book that covers it and demonstrates retention of material.
This is one of the better stories to read with students who have learning difficulties. When they discover that Zaroff hunts men, they are in. I don't know if it is that gag-reflex or what, but that which is really morally against our consciences sometimes draws us in to pay even better attention. The suspense keeps them going to because it is complication after complication.
I like to give them 8 sticky-notes and have them write down predictions. As we read I stop at significant moments and have them write their thought placing it right where we stop. Later they confirm.
You have some very vivid language so this is a good story for having the kids draw pictures. Have them prove why they draw what they draw by using quotes.
I've taught "The Most Dangerous Game" to both college-preparatory and general 9th graders, and I find that it works equally well with both.
It's a wonderful story for teaching or reviewing literary devices, and most of all, the kids really enjoy it. I generally spend at least one class period discussing the different types of conflicts in the story, and it's a good way to introduce the concept of the allusion. (At one point, I took my kids to the library to do a scavenger hunt of sorts to learn about some of the things Connell alludes to.) As far as difficulty level goes, I certainly don't think there's anything in the story that even comes close to being unmanageable even for struggling learners. Most of them are so consumed by finding out what happens that they're willing to work through any difficulties they encounter.
I've had such positive responses from the kids with this story that I'd definitely recommend it for any level.
I actually think this is a pretty good short story to use with most 9th grade groups. First of all, the story itself is appealing to boys, which is often the hardest group to reach. If you can get the boys interested, I've found that the girls perk up too.
That said, I think no matter what level of readers you do this story with, it all depends on how you teach it. Yes, I think it could definitely work for a class with learning difficulties. I might encourage you to break it up into sections -and- I've found that reading out loud while any class follows along tends to heighten understanding, no matter what level of learners you are working with. This story is great for introducing a lot of literary basics - like plot line (exposition, rising action, climax, resolution), characterization (the main focus is on two very different characters which is not complicated), and other basic literary elements. You can pretty much get as complicated or keep it as simple as you want. There is also a lot of room for reading and thinking aloud - making predictions - asking - what do you think about this character now type questions.
In short - yes. Take it as slow as you need to - but certainly I wouldn't consider it too difficult by any means.
Sure you can- it all depends on HOW you use it in class. Even high level texts can be used for lower students if the teachers knows how to use it the right way and adjust for learning difficulties.