Young Adult Lit/Crit

February 27, 2008

Book Club!!

Filed under: Book Clubs--O'Donnell-Allen — sunyprof @ 8:42 pm

Book club is at the heart of our 619 practice and I would argue should be in the forefront of your own practice no matter what grade level you teach.

What are you reading (ah–Chris Crutcher!! Whatddya know?!) for book club this week? Please share.

Tonight I was asked by two ELA teachers, one middle, one high, to write out — on the spot — a list of 10 books to buy for YA’s. We were supposed to be paying attention elsewhere, but oh well. These are pretty hip teachers so their classrooms are full of YA authors. But immediately I thought of you–and what you were reading for book club week to week.

So what should have been on my list. Remember these are folks who wanted “newer” titles. KES


February 18, 2008

Filed under: Book Clubs--O'Donnell-Allen, Making the Match — Mandy @ 9:07 pm

I finished the Lesesne and O’Donnell-Allen readings and I found many significant points in both texts. In many of my readings this semester and last semester, there has been a reoccurring theme of the use of student surveys, which shows up in Lesesne‘s chapter four. I think these are a great idea and an invaluable tool to use in order to get to know our students. I also like this text, because the survey in chapter four could easily be replicated and put to actual use. This survey is thorough, yet not intimidating and with this one questionnaire, teachers are able to assess the reading abilities and preferences of students. I also appreciate a section in chapter five, when Lesesne highlights the different ways to go about choosing texts. As a pre-service teacher, I am proud to say that I use all of these tools and feel like this is an area where I have, or will have, some expertise before entering the classroom, which is a good feeling, since I am nervous about almost everything else. Also, the end of this chapter had some really good questions to consider when selecting texts, which will continue to be helpful in selecting YA texts. Finally, in chapter six, Lesesne talks about the different genres for adolescents and an idea she discussed has stuck with me. She wrote about the importance of accessibility and while she was specifically talking about poetry, I think this applies to everything we want our students to read. The texts have to be accessible, either because they are interesting, or because they are age-appropriate or because kids can relate to them, but accessibility is key!

There were many parallels between the two readings for this week. Both discuss the selection of texts, genres, etc. My favorite part of the O’Donnell-Allen reading is definitely the sections in chapter five that focus on the “Top 10 Response Tools.” The chart is awesome and I can see myself using these various strategies with kids. I like the punctuation prompt and sticky notes, because these are strategies that I often use, but I also like the quotation response strategy and the real book letters. I can’t wait to use some of these in class, and I hope that over the course of my semester observing that I witness some of these cool activities in action. In general, I have concluded that many of the O’Donnell-Allen readings are excellent for professional development.


February 12, 2008

Thursday’s Discussion on Book Clubs

Filed under: Book Clubs--O'Donnell-Allen — katefrazer @ 5:21 pm

We had a nice discussion about the first three chapters of Book Club Companion on Thursday.  I’ll highlight some of our thoughts.  Our group found book clubs to be a great and effective method for kids to read and interact with many different texts.  Obviously this is important because it gives kids an opportunity to read what works for them and challenge themselves by really thinking about their novels or texts and having the opportunity to share and challenge their thoughts with peers. 

While this does disrupt the standard accepted idea of one book for the class discussion, it achieves rather than disrupts what we want students to get out of an ELA classroom.  They are reading, discussing, and most importantly thinking.  

We did discuss how book club books can be selected as a thematic set, giving students freedom to read a book that interests them, yet still allows discuss with people outside of the book club about a common theme. 

Overall, I would say these chapters had some very valuable information.  — Kate

February 5, 2008

The Book Club Companion

Filed under: Book Clubs--O'Donnell-Allen — katefrazer @ 11:25 pm

I found all of the reading we did for class this week pretty interesting, but since I’m a facilitator for O’Donnell-Allen’s The Book Club Companion, I’m going to focus on that particular text.  I really like how the first chapter is dedicated completely to explaining exactly what a book club is.  I was particularly interested in the difference between a book club and a literature circle.  I really had no idea what is was, and I think O’Donnell-Allen makes a clear comparison.  After doing all of the reading, I’m really thinking that both book clubs and literature circles have great benefits for students.  Then I began thinking, could both of these techniques work in the same classroom?  Could you use lit circles sometimes and book clubs others?  Or would students be better off using one or the other consistently? I guess I’m wondering what others are thinking about this topic.

One particular sentences from these three chapters really stuck out with me.  “Classroom life is just to unpredictable to come with any guarantees,” (pg 36).  First off, this made realize just how realistic O’Donnell-Allen is.   After only a few years in classroom, I absolutely agree with this statement. (I probably would have agreed with it after a few months!)  However, the flexibility and student-centered nature of book clubs seem to make them a good tool to meet the unpredictable nature of all classrooms.  Do other people agree? These are just a few of the interesting points I wanted to bring up about the book…other than the fact that I’m thinking about how I can use book clubs with my kids! Kate

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