Connections to Literature

Author: Nicole Flores

School/Organization:

S. Weir Mitchell Elementary School

 

Year: 2011

Seminar: Children's Literature

Grade Level: 1-4

Keywords: African American literature, comprehension, Literature

School Subject(s): English, Literature

In order to comprehend literature, students need to become engaged in what they are reading. Engagement, for some, becomes difficult when the characters, setting and plots look, feel and are nothing like what a child has experienced. The purpose of this curriculum unit is to enhance student’s comprehension by instilling strategies for connecting to texts of any genre, involving any and all cultures.

Our country, historically, has primarily focused on the majority to represent everyone in television, literature and many other aspects of media and everyday life. The obvious problem with this is the fact that our country is not only composed of the majority. Many other ethnic groups make up the population and at times do not feel represented, especially in the literature chosen for students in schools. Many times, when African-American selections, in particular, are chosen for anthologies for students, they contain token selections that do not adequately portray the African-America that is experienced by many. There are occasionally a few sightings; however, for the most part, the struggles, everyday drama and conflicts that occur within the African-American community are missing. School literature could be said to be “one note” with few instances of variation.

Learning is easiest for students when certain identifiable aspects of the situation are present with which the student can relate. However, they also need to experience other cultures in reading, without being turned off. Therefore, as we work toward changing anthologies to become more inclusive, devising ways for students to connect to the passages they read is imperative for comprehension.

The purpose of this curriculum unit is to enhance student’s comprehension by instilling strategies for connecting to texts of any genre, involving any and all cultures. This unit is intended for an audience of fifth grade students in a low to mid-income urban Philadelphia neighborhood.

The objectives for the unit will be as follows: 

  • Students will develop strategies for connections to any text. 
  • Students will develop a richer love of various types of literature in the process.

Download Unit: 11.01.03.pdf

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