Why should I incorporate novels in my class?
This is my third year teaching Language Arts in the middle school and I can honestly say I LOVE IT! Over the years I have watched students grow in so many ways and I think it is because of the novels that we read. Students who typically have a difficult time engaging in class are sitting for extended periods of time and following along with the novel. So the big question is, what about these novels is engaging students and opening their minds to learning.
Where to Start
The first thing that I do in the beginning of the year is get to know my students reading levels and interests. I try to find a novel that is of interest to the students so that it is something they will enjoy. Next I choose 4-5 novels and have the students take a vote on which book they would like to read. After choosing the book we do a little prereading and get to know the author. I ask students to make predictions of what they think the book may be about. When we begin reading we go over character traits, plot, setting, vocabulary, descriptive words, etc. You can pretty much use any goals and incorporate them to the book!
The book is over now what do I do ?
Now the fun begins!! When you are finished reading the book have the students choose characters that they are drawn to. After voting assign students roles and begin acting out scenes. The past two years we have created our very own movie version of the book. This has given students the opportunities to write lines, create scenery, practice speaking and communication, etc. Not only are students using all of these skills but they are building relationships with the other students who they are acting with as well as learning how to put themselves in someone else's shoes. For example, the student that is acting like the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz needs to express the emotions that the lion portrays and practice being that character.
Reading novels is such a great way to engage students and teach them any language arts goals in a fun and motivating way. According to one of my past students “It is fun. Acting out the books and making a movie is spectacular.” What a great vocabulary word he used in that statement!!! - Samantha Losurdo, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.