Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel

Subject: RE: Reading in class

From: Judy Delain (jdelain@luxcasco.k12.wi.us)
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 15:09:32 EDT

I love how you do research with a novel. Cool idea.
  I've put a twist to novels too. I do several historical fiction novels, including Across Five Aprils and Number the Stars. In conjunction with a long narrative poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish, we write our own historical fiction stories. Since this is a poem, the students don't feel the desire to mimic it. They select characters and set them in the first Colony at Plimoth. It takes a lot of research also, but isn't a research paper.

>>> LStimson@ed.state.nh.us 04/18/00 04:47PM >>>
                I always read aloud to my students. I have taught students
in grades 4-12. Our "read aloud" book gives the class a reference from
which to introduce mini lessons. For example, The Wish Giver by Bill
Brittain, is an excellent book to introduce students to the skill of making
predictions. If the journal entries for a particular month are to include
predictions about the books students are reading, then it makes sense to
have a "common" book we can all discuss. We have mini lessons on making
inferences, drawing conclusions, foreshadowing...and I highlight these
skills during our classroom discussions about the current read aloud.
                Linda Stimson
                English/Language Arts Consultant
                NH Department of Education
                101 Pleasant St
                Concord, NH 03301

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: schober@platteville.k12.wi.us
                                Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2000 6:14 PM
                                To: Multiple recipients of list
                                Subject: Re: Reading in class

                        I love your idea of combining novel reading with
relevant research. I
                        believe that any time a student can make a
connection between what they
                        have read and their world, learning definitely takes

                        During the discussion groups, will the students come
up with their own
                        discussion topics or do you give them the discussion
ideas? Do they get
                        points for their contribution to the discussion
session? Also, with the
                        research project, do the students have to make
reference to the novel at
                        all in their paper?


                        soliver@d20.co.edu writes:
>There was some discussion about reading aloud in
class or giving class
>time for
>students to read. I heartily agree that both
should be allowed. I teach
>grade and most of my students enjoy being read to.
Many of them are slow
>readers and find it helpful to hear the first page
or so before I turn
>loose to read on their own. It gives them a
purpose for reading and I
>leave off in a place where they want to keep
reading. They keep at it
>until the
>end of the story or chapter. This also helps slow
readers to follow
>along with
>the words. They can see and hear pronunciation and
listen to how a
>should be read.
>I also agree that kids need time in class to read.
They do have hectic
>schedules and appreciate (usually) what time they
are given. If they
>misuse the
>time, they don't get it in the near future.
>One other idea. I just started a unit where I'm
combining the reading of
>novel with their research. I gave them a list of
12 novels from which
>could choose. We have 10 of them as class sets,
which I've taught
>before. They
>must choose a novel that 3 other people in class
are also reading. That
>they have a discussion group formed and we will
meet in small groups
>along the
>way. Also they must base a research topic on that
novel. For example:
>Promises in the Wind by Irene Hunt. They could
research teen runaways,
>circus professions, the Great Depression, hobos and
Hoovervilles, etc.
>They can
>choose any of the 12 novels and then select what
topic they'll research
>based on
>that novel. The other titles include To Kill a
Mockingbird, The Iceberg
>(Roth), Words by Heart (Sebestyen), Woodsong
(Paulsen), Call of the Wild
>(London), Hound of the Baskervilles (Doyle), Eva
(Dickinson), Beardance
>Summer of My German Soldier (Greene), The Last Silk
Dress (Rinaldi), and
>Z for
>Zachariah (O'Brien). This gives the students a
feeling that they have
>the novel and the topic and it's not being pushed
down their throats. It
>also (hopefully) give a chance for quieter students
to voice an opinion
>in a
>small group that they wouldn't offer in front of
the whole class. We'll
>Any comments/suggestions?
>Sue Oliver
>Academy School District Twenty 20Mail


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