These texts as good examples of how YA can teach the skills we hope our students will learn as readers--in general and of literature: As was the case for many of you, these texts were two of my favorites. Reading The Poet X, a text I thought I was not going to like because it was written in verse, was a great experience for me, and might still be my favorite from the semester. However what I valued about these two texts is the rich and detailed storytelling and character development. These two novels felt the most current and literary in that respect as examples of prose YA fiction. In that way, I saw and valued that you saw how one might analyze these texts as literary texts. Additionally, particularly in the case of Monday. The narration posed some challenges to the reader--an example of what I've been saying about how a great YA text teaches students how to be better readers of more difficult texts.
These texts as good examples of the issues and concerns that young people are struggling with today: I also think these two novels, as I'm guessing you figured out by my pairing them, are particularly interesting to me as novels we might include in a high school lit class because of the ways each novel deals with mental disorders. As a teacher right in this moment I am profoundly aware of the scourge that clinical anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other mental disorders affect how my students learn in a classroom--and, thus, how it affects my teaching and my advising. And it will no doubt affect how you are teachers in your own classrooms sometime soon.
This week, I am asking you to think about these texts in the classroom with student readers. What is it possible to teach them with one or both of these texts? How do you manage sensitive ideas about gender, cultural difference, mental disorders with students who are living all three of these realities?
Our Test Class of the Week
For this week, I'm returning us to our West Bridgewater school, but I'm suggesting these texts would be more appropriate for an 11th grade reader rather than a middle schooler--not so much because of content but because of the ages of our characters as well as the. complexity, as some of you pointed out, of how the narration is structured in Monday.
If you want to refer back to what we know about West Bridgewater, the date of that Class Discussion was 24 February 2020. You can click on the month to the right of this post to find that archived material.