June 26, 2012

Refresh school novel sets with #youngCanLit

If you go or went to school, elementary or secondary, in Canada in the past 25 years, peruse this list and note those books you were asked to read as part of an English or Language Arts class:

Only 4 of these 27 titles are Canadian.  If you're reading this blog, you probably have or have had access to a school's novel sets.  Whether you're a student who has been asked to read specific books, an educator who uses novels to teach, a parent who has had books assigned to your children to read, or a teacher-librarian who selects titles for use in the school, really look at the titles that are part of your school's novel set collection.  How many are CanLit?

As it can be pricey to purchase 30 copies of a single title that is not held in a library's general collection, most school libraries have a typical roster of novels available and most of these are not Canadian.  (As hard as it may be to believe, there are many teachers who still use whole class sets of a single novel to teach.)  And, although there are some teachers who, year after year, continue to use only those novels for which they already have lessons (and don't fool yourself that this group comprises of older teachers), many teachers have gone to literacy circles (i.e., setting up different small groups that will read different novels) which accommodate the diverse reading preferences and needs of their students.  Keep in mind what Edmund Wilson said:  
No two persons ever read the same book.
For those teachers and students who would like to promote the reading of great Canadian books in their classrooms, and school libraries who want to select the best, I'd like to suggest some great youngCanLit alternatives to the exhausted novels of bygone eras.

Look for  #CanLitChoices in upcoming posts for suggestions on refreshing your novel set collections with the better alternatives i.e., youngCanLit.

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