Summer Boot Camp: 5 Ways to Get Excited about Teaching Literature

Summer Boot Camp: 5 Ways to Get Excited about Teaching Literature

How do you go from reading together to talking critically about books? It’s not hard to do, but a little guidance always helps.


Rethink Your Reading List: Get revved up for the coming year by throwing away all your preconceptions about what and how your kids should be reading and focusing instead on creating an environment where reading is a pleasure, using the choice-based method recommended by Nancie Attwell in The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers.



Let Imagination Run Free: Reading is all about imagination, and Mac Barnett’s Ted Talk about letting the magic of imaginary worlds infuse everyday reality. If you’re longing for more whimsy and play in your literature studies, this talk is a great place to start.



Brush Up on Your English: It’s possible to study literature without digging into the English language, but it’s really not as much fun. Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue is a witty reference guide to everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the language we speak, from the origin of swear words to weird syntactical tics.



Shift Your Emphasis: Sometimes, you feel like you should be doing more as a reader—how do you teach your kids to read critically, intelligently, and thoughtfully when you’re not really sure how to do that yourself? How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading walks you through adapting your reading to a more rigorous bent—without sucking all the fun out of it.



Make Poetry a Habit: It’s nice to think about making poetry part of your everyday life—and it’s easy to actually do it, thanks to the Poetry Foundation’s poem-a-day podcast, which features a poem (usually read by a poet) every day. Add three minutes to your routine, and make poetry part of your schedule.


This list is excerpted from our Summer Boot Camp Guide in the summer 2016 issue of HSL.