Teaching through Culture: Strategies for Reading and Responding to Young Adult Literature

Teaching through Culture: Strategies for Reading and Responding to Young Adult Literature

Teaching through Culture: Strategies for Reading and Responding to Young Adult Literature

Teaching through Culture: Strategies for Reading and Responding to Young Adult Literature

Synopsis

In previous generations of secondary curriculum, the texts read in class reflected a more homogenous society. Today, characters with names like Trino Olivares and Consuelo Harburton join traditional characters, such as Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. In an increasingly multicultural global community, teachers are striving to bring more culturally responsive materials to their classrooms. In this trailblazing text, Joan Parker Webster provides instructors with the basic tools to teach young adults Hispanic literature through texts selected and methods tailored for diverse students. She has chosen exemplary narrative works from some of the most respected authors of Hispanic literature. Teaching through Culture introduces teachers to key texts while providing supporting information and methods to make teaching and reading experiences effective. A culturally responsive teacher builds on students' prior knowledge and employs appropriate styles of communication and interaction to engage students in learning.

Excerpt

Learning to read is perhaps one of the most highly publicized, researched, and debated topics in the field of education today. The topic of reading has become prominent in the political arena as well, securing its place as a national priority steeped in rhetoric and promoted through legislation. To be sure, the ability to read is one of the most important processes that must be developed by students if they are to be successful in school and beyond. That is the primary reason why I decided to write this book. But, this book is not about the often highly politicized debate over which approach or what program is the best to accomplish this goal. Rather, this book is about helping students negotiate the process of reading and comprehending texts, which has at its center the ultimate goal of constructing meanings from texts. The word meanings is used with careful intention, because texts can contain and generate many different meanings. Readers, therefore, can be influenced by what a text says—its actual content—as well as what a text says to them—the coming together of textual content and the reader's background knowledge. What makes the interplay of these two elements—what the text says and what texts say to a particular reader—important to constructing meaning? Simply put, if a reader cannot find a way to connect the ideas presented in a text with her or his own knowledge base and life experiences, the possibility for the reader to construct meanings may be seriously constrained. Both of these elements are integral parts in the process of comprehension.

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