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How Does It Mean?

Engaging Reluctant Readers Through Literary Theory

By Lisa Schade-Eckert
Foreword by Leila Christenbury

    This book is nothing short of fantastic.
    —Leila Christenbury, coauthor of Writing on Demand

When you search for ways to help reluctant readers, the often esoteric world of literary theory may not seem like a natural place to start. Yet in How Does It Mean? you’ll discover that the core ideas of literary theories translate into immediately useful strategies that spark students’ interest and encourage them to adopt a more active role in their own reading.

How Does It Mean? takes literary theory out of the ivory tower, makes it useful and accessible, and places it squarely into...

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    This book is nothing short of fantastic.
    —Leila Christenbury, coauthor of Writing on Demand

When you search for ways to help reluctant readers, the often esoteric world of literary theory may not seem like a natural place to start. Yet in How Does It Mean? you’ll discover that the core ideas of literary theories translate into immediately useful strategies that spark students’ interest and encourage them to adopt a more active role in their own reading.

How Does It Mean? takes literary theory out of the ivory tower, makes it useful and accessible, and places it squarely into your teaching repertoire. With reading strategies and instructional methods that draw on five well-known theories—Jungian/archetypal theory, objective theory, reader response theory, biographical theory, and thematic critical theory—Lisa Schade Eckert shows you how to offer reluctant readers a pathway into texts through theory as you explicitly introduce them to reading and discussing literature. Eckert also gives you opportunities to differentiate instruction and to meet language arts standards using theory applications as well as to scaffold other popular strategies such as questioning the text, questioning the author, rereading, and connecting to prior knowledge.

How Does It Mean? teases out opportunities to explicitly teach reading strategies, positions literary theory as a comprehension strategy for secondary English classrooms, balances content and knowledge by using flexible instructional methods, and models ways in which teachers can encourage critical reading. Best of all, it provides a new way to teach so that all students, especially reluctant ones, come to appreciate literary texts.

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Contents

Acknowledgments
Foreword
Chapter One: A Reason to Read: Why Literary Theory Engages Reluctant Readers
Chapter Two: Beginning at the Beginning: Teaching Myths and Archetypal Theory
Chapter Three: Structure and Sense: Teaching Students Objective Theory
Chapter Four: Segments and Gaps: Teaching Students Reader-Response Theory
Chapter Five: Biographical Criticism: Teaching Voice and Theme
Chapter Six: Race, Class, Gender—and Philosophy: Teaching Students Thematic Criticism
Appendix
References
Index

Samples