"When we read something, we build envisionments that help us make sense of the text. Our ideas grow and change and become more full or complex over time. In the classroom, we want our students to do the same thing."
During a time when much educational attention is on the importance of standards and high-stakes assessment tests, how can teachers justify spending generous amounts of class time on literature instruction? What are its values? What does it contribute to a youngster's education?
-Dr. Judith Langer, Director,
National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement (CELA),
State University of New York at Albany
The teachers in this workshop believe strongly in the power of literature to enrich and change lives. They believe it broadens students' views of the world, introducing them to people and places far beyond the boundaries of their lived worlds. As they connect with the experiences presented by fictional characters, students are forced to evaluate the kinds of decisions and choices they might make. As they experience the power and beauty of literary language, they develop the potential of their own language use.
These teachers also recognize that as students discuss their understandings of texts with one another, they develop their perceptions and their analytical abilities as they confront and evaluate points of view different from their own. As Tim O'Keefe notes, "by having kids respond to literature, we're doing way more than the standards that are expected."
For a complete guide to the workshop session activities, download and print our support materials.