So, my MT and I presented at the GCTE (Georgia Council of Teachers of English) conference at Jekyll Island this past Friday. It went very well, and the conference proved to be quite an enjoyable experience! While shocked at how few student and first-year teachers were in attendance, I was excited to see so many older first-year teachers coming into teaching as a second career.
Why YA Lit?
Our conference presentation focused on integrating Young Adult Literature into secondary (6-12) English Language Arts classes. We began with rationale for why Young Adult Literature should be used and how it defies many of the negative perceptions and misconceptions many English teachers still have about the remedial or immature nature of genre. Why YA Lit?
YA Lit/Canonical Text Pairing
My co-presenter/MT outlined some ideas for pairing YA novels with more canonical texts in thematic units in order to scaffold student comprehension and understanding, especially for more difficult and less accessible classic text (I’m thinking Scarlet Letter here).
We recommend Sarah K. Herz and Donald R. Gallo’s From Hinton to Hamlet for more ideas on matching appropriate YA titles with canonical texts. This book includes pairings for a wide selection of canonical texts including The Scarlet Letter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Odyssey, The Grapes of Wrath, Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, Julius Caesar, and many more classic titles. You will also find information about how you can pair texts according to the situational and character archetypes they feature.
Some lesson ideas
We concluded the presentation with a brief mention of three lessons I created for incorporating YA Lit into an ELA classroom. One involves using Graphic Novels to Teach Dialogue (as well as narrative voice and figurative language), and includes a good resource list for those interested in exploring graphic novels. Another lesson that I created involves using Picture Book to Teach Inferencing. Included, also, is a list of picture books appropriate for use in a secondary English classroom.
The last lesson in our presentation packet outlines a unit that may be implemented after a semester or year of student exposure to and reading of YA Lit titles and authors. Hope you all find some useful stuff here!