Exploring Relationships and Connections to Others: Teaching Universal Themes through Young Adult Novels offers readers opportunities to explore the most common universal themes taught in secondary English Language Arts classrooms using contemporary young adult literature. Authors discuss adolescence and adolescent readers, young adult literature and its possibilities in the classroom, and ways to teach thematic analysis. The book provides context, traditional approaches to teaching, and examples of thematic explorations of each of the chosen themes. Chapters include developed teaching instructional units to study four universal themes: love and loss; friendship and betrayal; hate, its destructive consequences, and healing; and dreams and hope for tomorrow. Each instructional unit includes rationale, essential questions and objectives, calendar plans for up to five weeks, examples of introductory, reading and discussing, and enrichment activities and assessments. The activities target academic skills for ELA curricula and create safe spaces for exploring topics of relationships and connections to others, both of which are vital to adolescent growth and development. Each instructional chapter suggests a wide range of additional texts and resources for theme explorations.
Mike P. Cook is an associate professor of English education at Auburn University, where he works with pre-service teachers and graduate students. He teaches courses across the undergraduate and graduate ELA degree programs.
Leilya A. Pitre is an assistant professor of English education at Southeastern Louisiana University. She works with secondary English education majors teaching methods courses, literary analysis, and young adult literature.
Chapter One. Love and Loss
Chapter Two. Conceptual Teaching Unit: Love and Loss
Chapter Three. Friendship and Betrayal
Chapter Four. Conceptual Teaching Unit: Friendship and Betrayal
Chapter Five. Hate, Its Destructive Consequences, and Healing
Chapter Six. Conceptual Teaching Unit: Hate, Its Destructive Consequences, and Healing
Chapter Seven. Dreams and Hope for Tomorrow
Chapter Eight. Conceptual Teaching Unit: Dreams and Hope for Tomorrow
About the Authors
This book is a valuable resource for in-service teachers, pre-service teachers, and teacher educators. From well-reasoned book recommendations to innovative writing prompts to classroom-tested instructional activities and assessments, Cook and Pitre share practical tools and advice for teaching YA literature in a manner that invites adolescents to deepen their understanding of themselves and their relationships with other people. In doing so, they make a strong argument for the continued importance of teaching literature in the secondary school.
Going beyond the current canon of traditionally taught titles in high school, Cook and Pitre’s text offers secondary teachers not only an in-depth discussion of themes that are taught ubiquitously in English classes (love and loss, friendship and betrayal, hate and its consequences, and the American dream), but a detailed lesson plan for each theme using contemporary young adult literature. There is something for every teacher and student here as each lesson proffers multiple possible titles for teaching. This is a must have book for thematic instruction in English language arts classes!