Thursday, October 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Lessons from a Past Erin (7)

Hello, everyone! As you know, I unveiled a new blog feature about two months ago, and so far, people have been enjoying it. I've also enjoyed creating these posts and exploring my teacher side.

It's called Throwback Thursday: Lessons from a Past Erin. In these posts, I explore my notes from my undergrad YA class, and I share them with you. I've been organizing them as mini-lessons, so sometimes how they are structured differs. But at the end of all of them, I include a discussion post so that everyone can comment and discuss the week's lesson.

Bell Ringer

If you didn't catch last week's post, please take a moment to visit it so you can see what we'll be doing today.

If you did see last week's post, please take out your answers, and check them over with the correct answers below.

Reading Habits of Young Adults

Answers to Last Week's Activity

◘ Reading is a social  act  (two words). Are your perceptions of others influenced by what you see them reading?
◘ Teen readers, just like adults, have dry periods. (two words)
◘ The right book can create a lifelong reader (two words) ; the wrong one a nonreader (one word). Anyone here relate?
◘ Teens tend to read "a little up" (three words), but not much.
◘ Literary quality means nothing (one word). Why do you choose the books you do when looking for something to read for pleasure?
◘ Gender influences reading preferences. (one word)
◘ Personal culture (one word) impacts book selection.
◘ Teens enjoy being read to. (three words)

The answers to last week's fill-in-the-blank activity are in bold. Go ahead and check your answers, and feel free to leave a comment below to let me know how many correct answers you had! Trust me... I won't be judging you on right or wrong answers.

What Teen Readers Need

Now that we've gone over just some of the many reading habits of teenagers, I thought it would be fun to take some time to think about what teenage readers need. 

If you need to, take a minute to think about how you read in middle and high school. What were some of the things that you think you needed? What are some resources you wish you had?

After we went over the list from above, we were given a list of ways to help teenage readers. (Remember that this was a class for future English teachers.) Below is a list of some of the many things that teenagers might need to help make reading (and English class) a little easier.

◘ Literature they can relate to
◘ Support in reading difficult texts (as needed)
◘ Authentic reading opportunities (no tests or quizzes - just reading and maybe talking about what they liked or didn't like)
◘ Literacy communities - safe mentors; safe environments
Now I'm certainly not saying that we should create an entirely new curriculum for students, but if more schools included the above list in their English classrooms, more students might be willing to read.

I've seen a few middle schools adopt independent reading projects for their students. These programs vary from school to school, but most track the number books and pages read. However, the students get to fill out a questionnaire, and many times, they are asked what book was their favorite and why. 

I've even seen more and more after school reading clubs pop up in schools. This is like heaven to me! I wish that these would have existed when I was in school because just getting to sit around and informally discuss books with your classmates and peers is fun. It's a pressure-free environment for students, and it allows them to discover books that they might not have if not for the club.

As a realist, I know it's simply not possible to do everything on the above list in classes because of all of the standardized testing. As an optimist, I hope that one day, students will be able to experience a more enriching reading environment in school.

Adapted from the following source: Cole, Pam. Young Adult Literature in the 21st Century. 1st ed. Boston, MA. McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2009. 32-43. Print.

Class Discussion

Today's lesson was long, but we definitely have a lot to talk about in the comments! Feel free to let me know what you thought of the fill-in-the-blank activity (and if you'd like to see more of them in these posts). And be sure to talk about what you think of the reading habits. Do you think anything was left out? Do you agree or disagree with any of the bulleted items? Seriously... sound off in the comments.

We also have an interesting list of what teenage readers need. 

I'd love to hear from my teen readers here! Do you have teachers who try to incorporate items from that list in class? Do you wish your teachers had more time to do teach books you can relate to? Do you feel like you need some help when it comes to classics and difficult books?

But I'd also like to hear from the adult crowd (and other English teachers if you're out there)! Do you think teens need a little more support? Do you think they'd do better in class if they read books they can relate to or had a more authentic reading experience?

Like I said, we have a lot to talk about today, so feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to see what you're thinking, and I'll be by later tonight to reply to all of your comments!

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