Eleventh grade struggling readers need a text that is both accessible and exciting to read: "Kindred" by Octavia Butler fulfills both! I teach English to Juniors in a high-need community in New Jersey, where education is often put on the back burner. At my school sports receive the bulk of the funding. The students in my class were once freshman in the Read 180 program, and are still struggling readers. This novel has a Lexile level of 600, which makes it accessible to students with lower reading levels, in turn building their confidence.
Although I've been approved to teach this novel, I've been told that "there's no money." My students need to build confidence when it comes to reading and writing. They need to be comfortable with the text. Many are frustrated by their low reading levels and "shutting down" is a major problem. The texts I can currently choose from are above their reading level, and will thus only heighten their frustration. Additionally, some novels only have enough copies for class sets and cannot leave the classroom. Reading at home is absolutely necessary for these students to increase their reading levels!
I need 55 copies of the book, so that my students can have the opportunity to read chapters at home. Students will be enticed to read more from the startling opening line, "I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm." In this novel the main character Dana travels back in time to help her ancestors: the son of a plantation owner and a slave. The action shifts back and forth between the past and present, yet with each visit to the past Dana’s “stay” becomes longer. Will she be able to return to her own time? Will Dana die before she has even been born? In this unit my students will explore the issues surrounding slavery, corruption of power, and race relations. Additionally they will learn about liminality--the concept of being "betwixt and between;" and apply literary theories about gender and race/ethnicity. This project will greatly benefit my students because they are hungry to learn in new ways. In addition, this novel provides an inside view about the brutalities that slave women faced and has connections across the disciplines--particularly in their American History classes.
You will make is possible for my students to explore an exciting text with timeless themes that they can relate to. This novel WILL get them excited about reading again and help build their self-esteem!
|Kindred Octavia E. Butler, Robert Crossley (Introduction) • Barnes and Noble||$12.60||55||$693.00|
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