This semester I am teaching a young adult literature class to graduate students. The students are required to keep a blog that catalogues all the books that they read for the course. There are many ways that they can respond to young adult literature and I thought it would be interesting and engaging to have them write each post in a different format. These are the blog post choices they were assigned.
“When one has read a book, I think there is nothing so nice as discussing it with someone else – even though it sometimes produces rather fierce arguments.”
– CS Lewis in a letter to Arthur Greaves
Introductory Blog Post Assignment – This first blog post will ask you to think about, explore, and document your own relationship to and experiences with reading. Using words and images, address the following in your first blog post:
- How did you learn to read? Who and what influenced your relationship to reading and writing in and out of school?
- What do you believe are the purposes of reading, in and out of school?
- How does your relationship and experiences with reading shape your approach to teaching reading?
- What are the top ten books that have influenced your reading life? How have those books influenced you?
- What do you hope to get out of this class, both personally and professionally, in terms of your relationship with reading? Do you have any reading goals?
Book Talk Flier – Create a one page document that briefly describes, summarizes, and sells the book to young adults. Your fliers must include key information about the book, who might be interested in reading it, key review quotes that you (find or create) that suggest the importance of the book and why young adults might find it interesting. Your flier must also include visuals – a picture of the cover of the book and any other images that you think might help adolescents to be drawn into the book. Be creative and use interesting layouts and fonts.
Book Trailer – Create an original video presentation designed to motivate teens to check out the book.
Top Ten Post – Also known as the If You Like . . . Check Out . . .
Create a list of ten related titles that share similar themes, issues, or genre. For more ideas about this type of post, check out https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/category/top-ten-lists/
Book Review – Write a review of the book. Book reviews contain both summary and personal response. For sample book reviews check out The New York Times Book Review or The Nerdy Book Club Book Reviews. Feel free to write your book review, create a podcast or video cast of your book review.
Ways In/Ways Out/Ways Through the Text – Design three activities/lessons that actively involves young adults in reading the text. “Ways In” is an introductory activity that motivates students to engage with the text. What specific literacy strategies will you use? “Ways Through” are the literacy strategies and tools to help students make sense of and understand the text. “Ways Out” are activities that let students demonstrate their relationship to the text and their comprehension of the key ideas they encountered with the text.
Discussion Questions for Novels – Develop 10-15 questions that would prompt deep discussion about each novel. Work towards open-ended questions that have no correct answer; questions that would challenge us to think deeply, thereby prompting an engaging conversation. These questions should pertain directly to your book and your personal reading experience, rather than to general analysis of literary elements or queries over authorial intentions.
Book Q & A – Based on Richard Peck’s 10 Questions to Ask About a A Novel
- What would the story be like if the main character was the opposite sex?
- Why is the story set where it is?
- If you were to film this story, what characters would you eliminate if you could not use them all?
- Would you film this story in black or white or color?
- How is the main character different from you?
- Why or why not would this story make a good TV series?
- Name something in this story that has happened to you?
- Reread the first paragraphs of chapter one. What is in it to make you want to continue reading?
- If you had to design a cover for this book, what would it look like?
- What does the title tell you about this book? Does it tell the truth?
Booksnaps – Create five or more different Booksnaps of your favorite or most telling passages in the text. Once you snap images of your favorite quotes, create visual representation of your thoughts with bitmojis and emojis, and adding them to a “Snap Story.” Check out Tara M. Martin @trarmartinEDUon social media for more.
Exit Blog Post – Describe in narrative format the development of your relationship with reading during your time in this class.
- What was (were) your favorite book(s) that you read this semester?
- Did your personal relationship with reading grow or change during this course? If so, how? What classroom practices do you think contributed to your development?
- What practices/philosophies regarding reading and children’s literature do you plan to carry forward to your future students, and why?
What books from the book list and mentioned in class would you still like to read?