assignments ENGL301 Writing & The Teaching of Writing: Book Club
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OVERVIEW: This will be the major project of the first half of the semester and will, hopefully, begin to answer the question most often asked by new reading/writing teachers: if we aren’t teaching grammar, how do we teach writing? Book club is also a moment, in a class filled with theories of writing, to take a moment to understand theories of reading and the intimate connection between the two. This semester, you will be reading along with my first year students. Each book club will pair with a book club from my first year class. Your book club journals will consist of two parts: one part where you are making sense of the text and, secondly, a part where you help a less skilled reader make sense of it.
There are three book club choices for our groups (the ISBN numbers are live links to the Amazon page):
Where the Crawdad's Sing, by Delia Owens ISBN-13: 978-0735219090 Paperback
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood ISBN-13: 978-0385490818 Paperback
Behold The Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue ISBN-13: 978-0525509714 Paperback
Click here to read brief descriptions for what they are selecting from.
We will use book clubs to delve in to the important connections between reading and writing. We will also consider the role conversation plays as well. Besides the journals, you will meet regularly in class with your small group of classmates to discuss what you think about the book and about its significance. You'll experience a variety of kinds of prompts from specific to wide-open and consider which are most useful. You'll have the chance to experience a "book club" online as well. At the end of the club, you will each write a brief analysis of the connections between reading, writing, and collaboration you made during the book club experience.
Once you have finished the book, you will write, as an individual, a journal cover letter where you analyze the journal you've kept to see how you made meaning in the text, and how it felt to work with less skilled readers reading the same text, and to put into words your ideas of the connections between reading and writing and teaching reading and writing. To help you in this, you will have read some material on Reading Theory during the course of the book club.
Finally, you will think about how being a good reader translates into being a good teacher of reading and the role writing plays in teaching reading.
WHAT TO DO DURING EACH BOOK CLUB
- Write your book club journal. At the start of each book club (held in class—see the day or evening syllabus), you will write a reading journal that will chronicle your process of making meaning as you read the book
- Share your written responses. meet in your small groups for a group discussion where you will talk about what you have read/written about.
- Just plain talk about the book. Figure out what you don’t understand. Try to come to a group consensus about what you think the book is all about. Find proof in the text to support it. Argue a little, in a spirited but civil kind of way. Try to enjoy yourselves.
- Read and comment on the book club journals you have from your ENGL 101E counterparts. We'll work on this in class because this is probably new to you, but you'll read and respond, one reader to another, about the novel you are both reading. You'll try to give them feedback that helps them be a better reader, a more astute and seasoned reader. You'll have to think about the exact language and questions you'll use to make this happen. Consider what you know about reading and readers from the reading theory we will cover in class. Consider what you know from what I tell you about my students and what you can read about them from their journals. Finally, think about what you feel like you know, as a group, about the book as readers and think about what you might talk about, ask about, point out to help these ENGL 101E readers/writers be more fluent readers on their own.
- Write a group letter to ENGL101E counterpart book club (one letter per group). This can be a summary of what you all are thinking about in the book. It can be an overview of what you are seeing in their collective journals. It can draw their attention to a specific student or make a specific suggestion.
- Turn all of the writing you do for book club (your journals, the commented on 101E journals, your group letter) to me by the end of class.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE DONE WITH THE BOOK: BOOK CLUB REFLECTION
When we are finished reading the book, you will write a 1000 word, typed, reflection that analyzes three things:
- what you noticed about your own set of reading practices, again, considering the supplementary reading we’ll have discussed;
- what role writing played in either of the above;
- what you noticed about conversation and your group experience and your understanding of the text.
- what you noticed about the way the prompts or the medium for writing shaped how you came to understand the text.
- what you noticed about what it takes to help other readers, potentially less skilled reader, understand a text--and, reciprocally, how working with these other readers affected your own reading process.
- what you noticed about how you commented on student writing--what does it take to give good feedback on writing about reading to get better writing about reading.