Friday, December 26, 2008

Topic: Student Response to Literature

Question: Why read literature?

10-second review: Students responded in writing to the literature they read as it related to their own experiences. Made their writing come alive.

Title: “Encouraging Student Voice in Academic Writing.” R Gemmell. English Journal (November 2008), 64-68. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: The author began to encourage student personal experience in interpreting literary works because their writing about literature had become lifeless to dead.

Teacher moved students in the direction of using personal experience in interpreting literary works by keeping a writer’s notebook in which they responded to teachers’ prompts, both before and after the day’s reading. The prompts involved both technical and personal response to the literary work.

The results in their writing were as follows: Clear thesis sentences, personal experience and observations as part of evidence for their interpretations, greater audience awareness and “…saw the bigger purpose of writing—to effectively communicate their ides and opinions and to engage with the ideas in the text.”

Comment: English teachers are beginning to encourage students’ personal experience to become part of interpreting literary works, i.e., academic writing. A modification of the New Critics’ approach to explicating. A long time coming. RayS.

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