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How to approach reading a novel?

Discussion in 'English' started by DalekTeacher, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    I was wondering how many of you teach your novels in English lessons? I am teaching 'Of Mice and Men' for a Year 11 class for the first time, and wondered how you approach reading it. Is it possible to fit in reading the whole chapters in a whole lesson?
  2. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    Yes - they are short chapters and it's a short book.
  3. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    Thanks, you see, what is worrying me, is once you have done a starter activity, some of the lesson has been taken away and then I like to analyse the text at key moments.
  4. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    So don't do a starter! Get them to read the first paragraph of the chapter and pick out three key words/phrases and explain to partner or have five questions on the previous chapter ready.

    Or take longer than a lesson if needed.
  5. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    Oh, I thought we always had to do a starter to begin a lesson.
    So basically, its best to read short bursts, analyse and then move on?
  6. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    People may want you to, but there's no reason why you HAVE to.
  7. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    Unless OFSTED is in!
    Seriously - put yourself in the shoes of a pupil who has 5 identically structured lessons a day. I'm all for a bit of variety, myself.
  8. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I'm following you, gruoch!
    I agree - when asked, students will often tell you that they'd rather just get on with the lesson, and I have to say that I don't do starters every lesson (unless OFSTED is in or there's a chance of an observation) I do tell my trainees to do them though :)
  9. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    Is it alright then to do it so we just start reading the novel and have a class discussion on key issues, ensuring they make notes on key aspects and so on? They do find the analysis hard and I had difficulty with Shakespeare but got them through it.
    I am just more concerned about this as its a novel rather than selected parts of a play.
  10. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I have a very low ability year 11 reading Lord of the Flies at the moment. In their books, they have headed up pages for each of the chapters, and each of the characters. As we read, I stop them to make notes - so they write down key events and quotations, and at the end of each chapter, they have to select the key moments and explain why.
    They all have their own copies of the text, which we highlight and annotate as we go. They need a lot of guidance (one of them has a reading age of 9, so it's not easy) but they're all following so far, and enjoying it, as much as they ever enjoy anything!
    I do a lot of modelled analysis with them, and have yet to leave them alone to do it... it's a job for the next few weeks to get them feeling secure again after the holiday and then they can have a bash.
    I also build in lots of quizzes and recap activities which can (but are often not) be starters or plenaries. Certainly with this group, if we don't get into the text immediately, it's very hard to get them on task, and after 3 years, I'm happiest (as are they) when we can just get started.

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