My students are 11th & 12th grade English/Language Arts students in an urban setting (Madison, WI). This project will benefit the students in my Contemporary Literature, Creative Writing, and English 4 classes as they participate in literature circles and choice book reading.
Students enjoy having choices in their lives, and in the past year as I have been offering them choices in what they read, the interaction, interest, and buy-in with English class has increased leaps and bounds.
We have a high number of free/reduced lunch students, a 47% African-American/Bi-racial population, and my classes range from ELL classes (multiple native languages) to general-tracked classes to Honors classes.
We have such a diverse population at East HS and I really want my students to be able to get their hands on books that reflect them, their lives, their experiences. I also want them to learn about other cultures and backgrounds that they may not have read about before they have walked into my classroom.
We do not have a large population of American Indians and to be able to get real stories in their hands (Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture and Values through Storytelling Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture and Values through Storytelling and House of Purple Cedar) will open eyes about under represented cultures in our school.
Choice reading and literature circles have been a great success this year in my classes and I look forward to being able to expand my library and make it a part of my curriculum across the board. Students have had some really eye-opening discussions about what they are reading, have started trying to find videos and clips featuring authors (Jason Reynolds) and bringing them in to share with their groups and with me.
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