Question: How are literary discussions usually organized in classrooms?
Answer/Quote: “Students often play a limited role in the interpretive process as it unfolds in classroom literature discussions. As one ninth-grade student said: ‘There is usually a class theme. Everyone gets the same idea. They read the story and then the teacher will tell them what she interpreted and the class will say ‘Oh yea, that’s right.’ “
Comment: Two thoughts on class discussion of literary works: Begin with the students’ questions about what they do not understand. The teacher stays out of the discussion. Let the students try to answer the questions themselves. Use the book’s questions only if the students don’t raise the questions first. Use the teacher’s questions only if the students don’t ask the question first. Add professional literary criticism after students’ have drawn their own conclusions.
In response to the problem that students do not read short stories outside of class, try this: Have the students read a sentence a page or column in class, record what they have learned through key words on the board; students ask questions about what they need to know. Again, use key words on the board to record questions.
Next, the students read a paragraph a page or column in class; teacher records what they have now learned through key words on the board and the students raise questions about what they don’t know, which are also recorded through key words.
Have students help to organize the key word questions according to questions of fact , questions of interpretation and questions of literary criticism. Students read to answer the questions. Add additional questions after the students have finished reading. and then they discuss their answers. RayS.
Title: “A Point, Counterpoint Response Strategy for Complex Short Stories. T. Rogers. Journal of Reading (December 1990), 278-282.