Expanding Reading Selections

In making plans for the summer and coming fall, I’ve put myself out there as available to teach Reading Selections beyond the scope of my previous classes.  

I’m a bit nervous about it, because this time around, I’ll only know one student.  Part of my summer will involve refining my earlier selections and working on clarity of expectations with kids who aren’t my own or those of a close friend.  One parent interested has already asked me to completely gut my selections of any genre pieces outside literary fiction and teach her children exclusively; I declined to do so.

Science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery are all part and parcel to a diverse literary education.  They invite us to safely speculate upon history, the future, and the human condition without necessarily having to plunge into the gory depths of what we actually do and have done to one another. Many of the classics I use fall into genre fiction, at that.  Phillip K. Dick, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury, Hans Christian Andersen … are these not literary enough authors to warrant mention?

But I digress.  The point is that, in preparing files for scrutiny, in preparing for my daughter’s impending party (mere weeks away now), and in preparing for my friend’s death with dignity schedule for this week, I’d let slip my blog writing once more.

On the theme of literature and reading, though, I wish to share an important article on the common practices for teaching literacy that utterly fail our children: What Doesn’t Work on Edutopia.com. These five points are valid whether in a class or at home, and I’ve managed to avoid these mistakes, though I’ve made plenty of others in my time.

My literary analysis class certainly touches on some of the article’s points: children learn new vocabulary (and how to spell the words they learn) through active use and discussion.  The latter helps with comprehension of content and seeing a piece from different perspectives, which allows for deeper questions to be asked during future readings. 

Small group learning is something I wish I could provide my own children more opportunities to engage in, but with their ages so far apart, starting local discussion groups is the best I’ve got so far as a homeschooled.