My students need access to challenging literature with unique and engaging plots to build my students' reading abilities and critical thinking skills.
Good news. Our school book room is the most organized it's been in 17 years, I'm told. Bad news. We have a poor selection of books, many of which don't engage students.
Disenfranchised with the educational system.
Generational poverty. Distracted. Struggle with motivation. Don't associate themselves with academic success. Urban students from a tough California City. BUT parts of this change yearly when our students are engaged in their learning. Engagement leads to ownership with maturity, and by graduation many students are career ready or prepared for school. Furthermore, for many, they see themselves differently and they appreciate "learning".
We need 101 copies of "The Road", a novel by Cormac McCarthy. "It was a tough book and was so weird, but that is why I like it so much" said my students as we just finished reading William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" this year in my class. Students were proud to be able to understand it and speak and write about it critically. Cormac McCarthy is no different than Faulkner. He is a tough read and the story is highly engaging. Discussions in small groups and as a class will be rich and relevant for them. The book is about the love between father and son in a post-apocalyptic world. My students feel like they live in a world with similar struggles and many of them struggle to find love in their lives. This book will give them a "safe" access to those real-world feelings and an opportunity to hone their literary critical analysis. I have already bought the audio cd to play along with the novel, which helps engage my students.
One of my personal goals as a teacher is to help my struggling students see themselves as successful academics.
This can only happen when they realize they can access challenging texts, relate to and understand the novel, and then think and write about it critically. This novel will not only challenge my students, but most importantly will engage them; therefore increasing the chance that the students will own their learning with this unit.
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