Help students "switch on" to a novel
by Margaret Veitch
"English teachers around the world need to study novels with their students. In today's "instant techno world" reading is not always at the top of the list of cool activities for teenagers. There is even more need to grab student interest and motivate them to read a novel. There is also a need to help slower readers to successfully complete a novel," says Margaret and Tony Veitch, registered teachers with many years of experience in intermediate and secondary schools.
Here are some ideas to help to "grab the reader".
- Introduce the setting - e.g. social, historical, physical etc.
- Make a list of key words from the novel.
- List the main characters.
- Brainstorm ideas about the title.
- Draw a mindmap of ideas about the theme.
- Read the first chapter to the students.
- Share the reading.
- Read part of a chapter and stop at a moment of tension, encourage students to read on.
- Discuss other books in the same genre.
- Discuss other books by the same author.
A general requirement in most English curricula is to complete follow up activities about the novel for assessment or revision. (However it is an excellent idea to sometimes just read a novel together for enjoyment with no written follow up.)
Activities could include sections about the author, plot, setting, characters, style, themes and extension activities. Activities should include options for the less able student to express themselves in an artistic rather than purely the written medium. Margaret and Tony have produced an extensive list of user friendly, well constructed and well planned worksheet booklets about popular novels for students age 11 to 17.
to download a sample unit.
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