The Teacher Tip

Understanding Ourselves Through Literature

November 10, 2017

Adapted from Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst

Much as we hope our students will have the experience of losing themselves in a book, at the same time we hope that they’ll have the experience of finding themselves in a book. That is to say, we’d like them to close the book or turn off the e-reader thinking that they understand themselves, the people around them, and their world more fully than they did before they began the book. . . . We may read To Kill a Mockingbird, for instance, and close the covers with a deepened appreciation for the courage it takes to reject the assumptions and attitudes of our community. Or your class may read Riding Freedom and come to realize, somewhat more clearly, how much a society shapes our lives and dictates to us what we can or cannot do, who we can or cannot be. Literature enables us to see our world and ourselves more clearly, to understand our lives more fully.


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