Young Adult Lit/Crit

March 17, 2008

Thoughts on Lesesne

Filed under: Making the Match — Mandy @ 12:29 pm

I can relate to the emphasis on non-fiction in chapter 7. I am really interested in people and social injustices of the world, and I find that non-fiction often deals with both of these. I read a really interesting piece about Princess Diana, and am looking forward to reading Bushwacked as well, a story on George W. I also recently read Pornified, which I continue to recommend to people, as well as A World Apart, about the corruption and injustices women in prison endure. I also read Grisham’s The Innocent Man which deals with an actual murder case, his forte and a story entitled Smashed, about an SU sorority girl. One quote that struck me in particular in this chapter is when Lesense writes, “biographies and auto-biographies do not shy away from the truth even when the truth is less than flattering” (91).And as Crutcher mentioned the other night, I don’t think that the truth is something we confront often enough. But as Lesesne also points out, it took me a while to want to read and appreciate non-fiction. I also love historical fiction, and have read many of the titles that Lesesne mentions in chapter 7. There is so much to be learned and so many fascinating things about history, it seems like a great place to direct adolescent readers.I loved historical fiction as a teen, especially Number the Stars and stories about the Salem Witch trials. I like that Lesesne makes the connection between the social studies classroom and the English classroom, an important connection to recognize and to constantly make. Further nonfiction is about real people and real events and a lot can be learned from the trials and tribulations of others. As Lesene writes, “biographies and autobiographies can make history come alive for contemporary readers who are much more centered in the now” and I think this is very important, especially for those who many not enjoy historical fiction, since there is something for everyone.As I was reading chapter 8, I began to question how I feel about reading aloud to students, especially high school students. I think it is acceptable sometimes in a middle school classroom. I know I love reading to my 4 year old sister, and she loves it to… and I really don’t like audio books, at least not for me.However, if I think it could get the interest of my students or help ESL, I would use read-alouds and audio books. But, if the research shows that this is a motivational factor in getting students to read, I will definitely look into it these techniques and try and move outside my personal comfort zone for the benefit of my students. I do like that these aren’t usually used on a daily basis, and this makes me more inclined to use read-alouds or audio books. I also like the “read and tease” activity because it seems like such a great way to do a mini-book talk.On the other hand, I am really excited to do booktalks! I think I may try one in my middle school with drama high…so the notes that I took on that book will definitely come in handy! I know that booktalks will be a staple in my classroom– something I do regularly.In chapter ten I really liked a lot of the ideas presented. Free reading Fridays– or SSR is so important, but I would use it more than once a week. I think some time everyday can and should be dedicated to SSR. I also want to try asking the kids in my host class “if there was a perfect book for you what would it be like?” — especially since I am doing a student teaching placement here next fall!Pecks questions are also awesome and seem very useful. The book pass seems cool to, it reminds me of speed dating, only with books! Although Lesesne acknowledges at the end of the chapter that these are just a few of the strategies, I am thrilled that they seem useful and practical, and I am also excited to see what else is out there, if these only represent a mere few.-Mandy


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 8, 2008

Lesesne discussion from 2/7

Filed under: Making the Match — jexter1 @ 4:00 pm

Last night’s discussion about Lesesne’s writings was familiar to many others that have been held in Karen’s classes, yet equally as captivating and profound. The group and I noted the influence social/physical/emotional development AND one’s past  has on a student’s choice of reading. As educators, we must delve into the minds (i.e. hobbies & interests: music, film, sports) and ask our students what they want to read. Also, we must consider the lives our students go home to, because a child of divorce might react differently to a novel about a broken home than a child of a fulfilling 20-year marriage. In summary, the student should come before the material is chosen as often as possible.


February 7, 2008

Chapters 1-3

Filed under: Making the Match — erinlbowman @ 1:43 am

These chapters were very interesting and informative. There is a lot in them that I feel many of you who have taught before or are currently teaching that you have experienced in your own classrooms. Trying to figure out what titles and types of books are appropriate for certain students and ability levels is something that I think is an art that comes with practice. What are your thoughts on the fact that Lesesne sees YA readers as being ages 10-20? I think that this is appropriate, and she makes some good points about her reasoning behind this wide range of ages. The only problem is that because it is such a wide variety of ages, there are some YA novels that address issues that would not be appropriate for certain age groups and maturity levels. Lesesne discusses this as well.

There are different ways in which Lesesne talks about for teachers to evaluate what kinds of novels are appropriate for each teen individually.  Some of these techniques that she talked about using in the classroom really interest me and I would like to discuss them in class tomorrow, especially the liquid study.

Another thing that I would like to discuss is Havighurst’s Theory of Developmental Tasks.

See you all tomorrow!


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