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In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel

Subject: Re: Frankenstein--for what ability?

From: Louisa Newlin (louisa@newlin.org)
Date: Fri Mar 24 2000 - 10:08:23 EST


Just a quick thought: although Frankenstein, the novel, is hard reading because of the
19th c. prose style & hefty vocab., Frankenstein, the important cultural myth is one kids enjoy
knowing about (and knowing that Frankenstein is the scientist, not the monster, etc.) I taught
it for several years to very bright, very motivated 10th grade boys in a private school, and they
had trouble with the prose, although they got through it. They very much enjoyed the couple of
days I spent on Frankenstein movies -- the story has taken on a life of its own, one Mary Shelly
could not have predicted, somewhat in way the Creature takes on a life of its own, unforeseen
by Frankenstein. We also looked at journals and letters of Mary Shelley's in which she speaks of
the experience of birth, and in particular about her feelings about the child that died, which
enriched the boys' appreciation of the psychological dimensions of the novel.
This is a long-winded way of saying that for lower-ability students, I would think that a few
sample chapters (the creation itself, for example, and the flight across the ice at the end,
and the confrontation of the creature with his creators high in the mountains)), a description of the story as a whole, some stuff about Mary
Shelley, and a Movie Clip Day, accompanied by some good in-class journal writing, would make
a respectable 5-6 day unit. I don't think this is copping out. Other novels they can read all of.
Louisa Newlin
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> Hi Dennee,
>
> I have taught the novel recently to a small group of readers in a college
> developmental reading course. The language in the novel is very difficult. I
> found that I had to discuss each chapter of the book, and read aloud whole
> passages to help students decipher meaning. For each section I developed
> study guide questions.
>
> Students did "I-Search" type research papers related to an aspect of the book
> that interested each of them. I started this process by sharing with them
> Internet sites about Frankenstein, and we had a book in our library about
> genetic engineering. The students were fascinated by Mary Shelley's life,
> too, and several of them began to think that the monster was symbolic of her
> existence.
>
> We viewed three versions of the film after we completed discussing each
> chapter of the novel.
>
> If you add this novel, the students will experience a degree of frustration
> with language, but it then becomes an occasion for discussing how language
> changes with the time, how literature reflects the author's identity, how
> literature reflects philosophy, religion, history, and science.
>
> I have not yet viewed the videoconference about this novel,but I look forward
> to receiving a copy soon.
>
> Truly,
>
> Gail Corso
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>
> Dr. Gail S. Corso
> Associate Professor of Comunication Arts
> Neumann College
> Aston, PA 19014-1298
> gcorso@neumann.edu
>
> Denee Stevenson wrote:
>
> > Although I have not read the novel Frankenstein, I've been impressed with
> > the depth of issues the 11th grade teacher has his students explore in the
> > video
> > we see for the course. I have juniors in class who, I feel, would relish
> > discussing
> > these issues of science, creation, creator, etc. My concern is that they
> > have low
> > reading levels and low interest in reading.
> >
> > How difficult is the text of the book? Has anyone used this novel with
> > students
> > who have below-grade level reading abilities and interests?
> >
> > Denee Stevenson
> >
> > stevenson@basd.k12.pa.us
>
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> <html>
> Hi Dennee,
> <p>I have taught the novel recently to a small group of readers in a college
> developmental reading course.&nbsp; The language in the novel is very
> difficult.&nbsp;
> I found that I had to discuss each chapter of the book, and read aloud
> whole passages to help students decipher meaning.&nbsp; For each section
> I developed study guide questions.
> <p>Students did "I-Search" type research papers related to an aspect of
> the book that interested each of them.&nbsp; I started this process by
> sharing with them Internet sites about <i>Frankenstein</i>, and we had

> a book in our library about genetic engineering.&nbsp; The students were
> fascinated by Mary Shelley's life, too, and several of them began to think
> that the monster was symbolic of her existence.
> <p>We viewed three versions of the film after we completed discussing each
> chapter of the novel.
> <p>If you add this novel, the students will experience a degree of frustration
> with language, but it then becomes an occasion for discussing how language
> changes with the time, how literature reflects the author's identity, how
> literature reflects philosophy, religion, history, and science.
> <p>I have not yet viewed the videoconference about this novel,but I look
> forward to receiving a copy soon.
> <p>Truly,
> <p>Gail Corso
> <p>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> <p>Dr. Gail S. Corso
> <br>Associate Professor of Comunication Arts
> <br>Neumann College
> <br>Aston, PA 19014-1298
> <br>gcorso@neumann.edu
> <p>Denee Stevenson wrote:
> <blockquote TYPE=CITE>Although I have not read the novel Frankenstein,
> I've been impressed with
> <br>the depth of issues the 11th grade teacher has his students explore
> in the
> <br>video
> <br>we see for the course.&nbsp; I have juniors in class who, I feel, would
> relish
> <br>discussing
> <br>these issues of science, creation, creator, etc.&nbsp; My concern is
> that they
> <br>have low
> <br>reading levels and low interest in reading.
> <p>How difficult is the text of the book?&nbsp;&nbsp; Has anyone used this
> novel with
> <br>students
> <br>who have below-grade level reading abilities and interests?
> <p>Denee Stevenson
> <p>stevenson@basd.k12.pa.us</blockquote>
> </html>
>
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