In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel
Subject: Re: QuestionFrom: Denee Stevenson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Mar 24 2000 - 10:07:16 EST
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This is a great question that so many of us deal with.Compound Cliff's Notes with the internet use and ease at which students can avoid actually reading is downright disheartening.
If you are looking for ways to "check" actual reading: something I have done is announce the date and provide a scoring rubric for an in-class essay. I make up the essay and permit students to have their copies of the book with them for use of quotes, etc. Essays must be completed in that class period.
If you are looking for ways to "engage" students so that they want to read. I have found small group discussion, led by students, helpful though certainly not foolproof. You need to build into the group process a method for accountability, but peer involvement seems to get students to both want to read and to be "forced" to read because it's with peers and small group. Sometimes, I've observed discussions in small group that make the novel sound so appealing that the errant reader will go home and read so that he/she can engage in the discussion next time.
Even though I have ideas to offer. I could use a lot myself because I experience the same frustration that you do.
DeneeStevenson 10/11th grades Beaver High School PA
>From: Jennifer Hack <email@example.com>
>To: Multiple recipients of list <Teacher-TalkNovel@learner.org>
>Subject: Re: Question
>Date: Thu, Mar 23, 2000, 2:27 PM
>I am struggling with an ever-present nemesis, plagiarism. For canonical works,
>students often frequent Monarch Notes, Cliff Notes or related movies. Too
>frequently, these supplements become the sole relationship that my students
>read or view.
>Even though, I believe that there are students who do honestly read the
>prescribed works and may use supplements as aids, there still seems to be
>an inordinate number of students who are looking for ways to circumvent the
>actual reading of whatever work is at hand.
>Some might believe that it's okay because, at least, they are reading, and
>this might be valid. However, these same students are hesitant about
>venturing into discussion or committing themselves to points relating to
>plot, theme, or host of other story elements (possibly for fear of
>discovery). Unfortunately, then, the discussions or related forums are
>relegated to the few who have actual demonstrable knowledge of the literary
>Aside from creating another canon (which I am presently trying to
>construct) that deviates from our sponsored school district listings, what
>remedies work well in your teaching environments?