Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel

Subject: Re: Question

From: Lynn Aprill (aprillyn@bonduel.k12.wi.us)
Date: Tue Apr 11 2000 - 17:30:08 EDT

Cindy O'Donnell-Allen wrote:

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> Do you ever ask students to read contemporary literature?
> Just curious,
> Cindy


When I started Creative Writing, I inherited a "list" of biographies and
autobiographies from another teacher which were supposed to be "good writing".
I had never read any of them, so how could I possibly encourage my students to
read them? I think being a reader yourself is the greatest encouragement you
can give to students. I dumped the original list and came up with a list of
contemporary literature which I have read the last five years as part of a book
club, and which I knew were great books. Some of them are difficult reads (A
Prayer for Owen Meany), and many today contain "adult situations", but we
discuss this beforehand. I use this with a junior/senior class, so most of them
have been exposed to this stuff long before they select from this list. Some of
the other titles include Deep End of the Ocean, Map of the World, Black and
Blue, The Bean Trees, Snow Falling on Cedars, Flowers for Algernon, Watership
Down, Montana 1948 (by a great Wisconsin writer, Larry Watson). It is so fun
watching my students devour these books, and it is so much easier for me to
encourage them to read, because I know what they're about. We have a continuing
dialogue during the quarter that they read them, and then they do an analysis
paper on them in the second quarter.

Lynn Aprill
Bonduel High School


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