THE STUDY OF ADOLESCENT LITERATURE
English 525. The Study of Adolescent Literature
Three hours lecture (3).
Prerequisites: Completion of English general education requirements.
Course familiarizes students with classic and contemporary literature whose audience is primarily adolescents. Students are led to understand why teenage readers make the literature choices they do. The course helps students develop a positive attitude toward this kind of literature and understand why this kind of literature should have a place in the reading program of adolescents. Course required to satisfy certification requirements for English majors intending to teach at the secondary level. Approved for Graduate Credit: Appropriate requirements for students taking this course for graduate credit will be established by the instructor.
Detailed Description of Content of Course
This course provides an overview of adolescent literature and includes materials to help students understand the body of literature with adolescents as main characters written by serious authors for the adolescent audience. This course provides students with opportunities to study the critical and pedagogical theories that inform the study of adolescent literature. In addition, issues such as censorship, and the various ways in which students can respond to literature are addressed in the course.
This course provides students with opportunities to read, discuss, and write about adolescent literature. The individual works within categories and the categories may vary with each offering of the course. The course will, however, consistently include a range of categories and representative works within each.
Detailed Description of Conduct of Course
Reading, talking, and writing about literature written specifically for adolescents affords students the opportunity to study and learn about the variety of books written for young adults and how these books can be incorporated into the classroom. Students are provided with a variety of ways to study literature for adolescents including lecture, large group discussion, and small group collaboration. Learning opportunities may include, among others, the following:
Reader Response Logs: Students may be asked to reflect on the books they read in the course in a reader response log. This log will serve as a model for one way in which teachers can use reader response as a vehicle through which they help their students make important connections with the books they read. Students may be asked to write about their own emotional response to the books read in the course, or they may be asked to explore in their writing ways in which certain books can be used in their work as future teachers. These logs allow students the opportunity to examine their own feelings about books for adolescents.
Class Participation: Each student is expected to participate in class discussion. This course is designed to introduce students to ways in which they can involve their future students in class discussions so that they may share their responses to the works with other students. Regular participation is critical in the development of the learning environment aimed for in this course.
Tests: Periodic tests may be given to evaluate the students' understanding of the theory and pedagogy they have studied.
Unit Plan: Students may be expected to complete a teaching unit dealing with some work or works of literature for adolescents. The unit should include a novel or other work of literature read for this class.
Paper: Students not in the English education program may be given the option of preparing a paper or project dealing with a literary work read in the course. This course is designed to include a variety of teaching and learning devices both to foster the learning environment for students in the course and to serve as a teaching model for those students enrolled in the course who are enrolled in teacher education programs.
Goals and Objectives of the Course
A central goal of this course is to make students thoughtful and skillful writers and readers who are knowledgeable about the body of literature written specifically for young adults, literature that often deals with the problems, the interests, and the emotions of the teenage years. Students need to become familiar with the wide selection of books available for adolescents. Prospective teachers, moreover, need to develop the habit of reading adolescent literature so they can be conversant with the literature their students will choose and so they can assist students with those choices.
The concerns and interests of adolescents have remained relatively stable in spite of cultural and technological changes. Adolescents read mainly for enjoyment (escape), self-discovery, and recreation. Therefore, literature can make contributions to the lives of individual adolescents. The reading and study of adolescent literature can serve as an important transitional element in literary education during the teenage years and even into adulthood. The best way to ensure life-long reading habits is to make reading an enjoyable and meaningful experience for students. This course will focus on examining ways in which these goals can be achieved. Prospective teachers will have the opportunity to consider a variety of ways in which books can be used with middle and high school students.
Knowledge of adolescent literature as a genre and as a focus for the work of prospective teachers preparing to work with middle and high school students may be measured in a variety of ways that may include, among others, tests, response logs to reading assignments, unit plans, reader's support kits, papers and projects, and class participation. Students may be expected to write in response logs focusing on both their reactions to works read in the course and to their understanding of how these works may be used with middle and high school students. The preparation of reader's support kits and unit plans would allow students to explore possible means through which books for adolescents can be incorporated into the school curricula. Tests would allow students to interpret their understanding of adolescent literature and to examine how books written specifically for adolescent readers can be used in schools. Regular participation by students is a crucial factor in the development of a positive learning environment in this course. Students are expected to be actively engaged in the class.
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