Whole Novels for the Whole ClassA Student-Centered Approach
Work with students at all levels to help them read novels Whole Novels is a practical, field-tested guide to implementing a student-centered literature program that promotes critical thinking and literary understanding through the study of novels with middle school students. Rather than using novels simply to teach basic literacy skills and comprehension strategies, Whole Novels approaches literature as art. The book is fully aligned with the Common Core ELA Standards and offers tips for implementing whole novels in various contexts, including suggestions for teachers interested in trying out small steps in their classrooms first. Includes a powerful method for teaching literature, writing, and critical thinking to middle school students Shows how to use the Whole Novels approach in conjunction with other programs Includes video clips of the author using the techniques in her own classroom This resource will help teachers work with students of varying abilities in reading whole novels.
About the Author vii Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 PART 1 ESSENTIAL PRACTICES 11 1 A Case for Whole Novels for the Whole Class 13 Parts of the Whole: My Annual Curriculum Map 30 2 Selecting the Right Books—Five Dimensions of Good Chemistry 35 3 Authentic Note Taking—Three Levels of Thinking, Three Levels of Response 68 Parts of the Whole: A View of Whole Novel Study from Start to Finish 102 4 Whole Novel Discussions—Everyone Has a Voice 107 Parts of the Whole: Lessons from Beginning Teachers on Whole Novels 136 5 Making the Writing Connection—Harnessing Students’ Drive to Say Something 141 PART 2 MAKING WHOLE NOVELS WORK IN REAL-WORLD CONTEXTS 177 6 Setting Expectations, Building Accountability—The Launch and Beyond 179 Parts of the Whole: My Classroom Setup 207 7 Developing Students’ Critical Reading and Comprehension—Activities We Do along the Way 214 Parts of the Whole: Integrating Technology 249 8 Differentiating for Diversity—Whole Novels for All Students 253 9 Analyzing the Results—What We Know and Where We Can Go 296 Appendices 313 Appendix A: Transcription of Whole Novel Discussion Notes 315 Appendix B: Spanish Translation of the Parent Letter 325 Appendix C: Notes Worksheet for Picture Book Study 327 Appendix D: Directions for Plot Charting Activity 329 Appendix E: Seeker Opportunity Assignment Choices 330 Appendix F: Student-Designed “Book Report” 332 Appendix G: Variations on a Theme Assignment 339 Appendix H: Hero’s Journey Cycle Activity 341 References 343 Index 345
Ariel Sacks teaches 8th-grade English in Brooklyn, New York. She studied progressive pedagogy at Bank Street College and is committed to implementing student-centered methods successfully in public schools. A prolific writer, Ariel writes the blog, "On the Shoulders of Giants," featured at Center For Teaching Quality, and is a coauthor of Teaching 2030.
WHOLE NOVELS FOR THE WHOLE CLASS Whole Novels for the Whole Class is the hands-on resource that teachers can use to help students develop a genuine love of reading and a community in which to practice it. Written by classroom teacher Ariel Sacks, this practical, field-tested book offers a step-by-step guide for implementing a student-centered literature program that promotes critical thinking and literary understanding through the study of novels and other texts. Rather than using novels simply to teach basic literacy skills and comprehension strategies, Sacks's Whole Novels method approaches literature as art. This unique way into reading and comprehension is designed to align with the Common Core ELA Standards and is filled with tips for implementing whole novel studies in various settings. Using this novel technique can help struggling readers gain the confidence to tackle grade-level novels independently, reluctant students become avid discussers of literature who can powerfully argue their points, and outspoken students discover new channels for their voices in writing. While boosting reading comprehension, the whole novel approach can be successfully integrated into other classroom programs. " Yes, yes. To read a well-crafted book requires a leap of faith, losing oneself for a time. And yet we don't practice—much less even encourage—that kind of reading in our schools. Ariel Sacks both makes the argument for doing so and offers the stories we need from classrooms where it's being done." —Deborah Meier, teacher, author, and board member of the Coalition of Essential Schools "Reminiscent of masterworks, Ariel's book is an exquisite blending of the best in literacy theory and classroom practice that could only be written by someone who actually does this every day with real students." —Renee A. Moore, NBCT, English teacher, author, and education blogger