Friday, June 9, 2017

NCTE Reads Week One: Teaching Reading with YA Lit

Chapter One: Reading with Passion and Purpose

   The first chapter of Teaching Reading with YA Literature provides a foundation of what the book
will provide. It begins with the author's personal experience with Young Adult literature and how this expanded into her belief of using this literature in the secondary English classrooms.  This discussion leads to: what is completed in the classrooms today, opposition of YA literature in the classroom, how research assists us in making the case for  YA Literature, constructing a pedagogy in YA lit, why we need a YA lit pedagogy, the binary  paradigm, and the stance in which this book takes on books, students, and reading.
     The author then poses a challenge to the readers: In the chapters to come, I invite you to develop your own version of YA pedagogy by introducing you to teachers and students around the country whose lives have been changed by this literature and this way of teaching it.

     Chapter 2 presents an introduction to YA lit as a field and a new way of thinking about the concept of text complexity.  Chapter 3 explores classroom reading community and illustrates what it looks like across three different settings. Chapter 4 defines the role of teacher as matchmaker and shows what matchmaking looks like when it takes into account both the needs of individual students and the larger contexts for students’ reading. Chapter 5 introduces a vision for tasks that foster complexity, agency, and autonomy by linking students’ work with YA literature to real-world contexts. Chapter 6 connects YA pedagogy to assessment. I introduce a vision of assessment that values personal and analytical work with YA lit. Chapter 7 makes the case for outreach as something that goes with the territory when we teach young adult literature.

Chapter Two: Young Adult Literature and Text Complexity

The second chapter of the book opens up to the reality of naysayers and those who are in opposition to the use of young adult literature in the the middle school and high school English classroom.  The author suggests that these opposed to YA Lit are mostly unaware and unread of such literature. In reading these opening paragraphs, I felt it to be a call to action. For those inspired to use YA literature, to educate those unaware of its benefits and lead them to the truth. #knowledgeispower

Buehler shares her love of YA Literature. What is it, anyway? 
YA novels are those that defy categorization. My favorite YA titles are the ones that surprise me. They take risks and blur genres. In the process, they do important work. They ask questions about identity and formative influences on identity. They expose social inequality. They explore philosophical ideas. They place teens’ everyday experiences in a larger context. They depict the complexity of human beings. They offer new knowledge gleaned from original research. They are race-conscious. They are critical. They are literary and metaphorical. They do all these things while filtering the meaning-making process through the minds and hearts of teens. The borders of the field are porous, and what we find within the field is continually changing. This is information we can use to challenge people’s thinking about YA lit.
The chapter continues with a discussion of Finding and Making Complexity in YA Lit. A key factor within complexity of novels, lies within two key dimensions of text complexity. Buehler states,  "Complexity can be found in the text—in the overall quality of an author’s writing and thinking. But complexity can also be found in what readers do with texts—in the meanings they create based on their purpose, context, and motivation for reading." Buehler also says, "Making complexity is personal when we bring our current interests, questions, and circumstances to a book and use those to shape and guide our reading. It’s social when we listen to the ideas of other readers, notice what they notice, and allow their ways of thinking to change the way we think about a text. It’s analytical when we go back into a text to look more carefully at its individual elements and then use that analysis to understand its meanings more deeply."

This way of thinking about text complexity toward YA Literature, opens the door of the use of it in the English classroom.

NCTE Reads Book Study, "Talk It, Make It, and Take It” . Each week there will be a question for the group to talk about, a collective resource for the group to make, and free resources from NCTE for participants to take.

How do you use YA literature in the classroom, and where does it fit in the larger context of all we’re meant to do in ELA?

“If our colleagues believe that young adult literature isn’t complex, it stands to reason that they won’t be able to imagine there’s anything in it worth teaching.” p. 28

This week we are going to create a curated list of YA novels with rationales for why they are complex texts. (Will provide at weeks end). These lists may prove useful if you choose to use any of these novels in your class and are asked to justify your selection.
Please share the title, author, and a few sentences explaining why a YA text of your choosing should be considered complex. Don’t worry if someone else has already listed a title you were considering; either add to their rationale or write your own. Multiple perspectives will strengthen our understanding of any of these books.

Consider the elements listed on p. 37 in crafting your rationale:
• Complexity of Style—language, structure, other stylistic elements
• Complexity of Substance—character, setting, literary devices, topics and themes, how the book is put together

“In school and in life we should be offering students books that will both stretch and satisfy them.” (p. 50) If you use choice reading, this involves the slow and steady process of building a classroom library.

This journal article offers suggestions for doing so: Building a Classroom Library

This new statement from NCTE offers guidance:

Linking blog post with #IMWAYR

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Thank you for reading my post. Please comment with any questions, concerns, constructive criticisms, or information you would like to add to this subject. Docendo discimus, by teaching we learn.

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