Less Is More: Teaching Literature with Short Texts, Grades 6-12 / Edition 1

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Less Is More is full of powerful ideas for teaching with short, provocative text. This book broadens and extends our available teaching tools and materials, and can help engage all students. It is a valuable resource for language arts teachers.
—Cris Tovani

Language arts teachers want all of their students to love literature and embrace the novels they assign. The classroom reality is that many students are not ready or motivated to immerse themselves in an entire novel. In order to reach and engage all students, teachers need to look beyond novels alone and embrace a richer variety of literature.

In Less Is More Kimberly Hill Campbell draws on research as well as her own classroom experiences to show how short texts engage a wide range of middle and high school students. She shares her discovery of the power of short texts to support her students' skills as readers, writers, and students of literature.

Kimberly shows how short texts can be integrated into the curriculum, without sacrificing required novels. Chapters examine different genres of short text, such as short stories, essays, memoir, and graphic novels. Each chapter provides reading, writing, and response strategies as well as a broad selection of short text resources that have proven effective with a wide range of students.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This excellent text should be in every English teacher's library and referred to frequently. The author, a longtime teacher at the middle school, high school, and now at the college level, combines her love of reading and her desire for every student to enjoy reading into a plea for the use of short texts at the secondary level. While not discounting the value of the requisite long text, the author explains that the use of short stories, essays, memoirs, poetry, and graphic novels increases actual reading, not faking, among all levels of readers as well as class participation, comprehension, and reading and writing strategies. Short texts also allow the teacher to select readings relevant to the students' lives, increase the possibilities of differentiated instruction, and provide a wider variety of writing models. Strategies for supporting the teaching of short texts as well as meeting state and national standards are provided as well as specific chapters about teaching and assessing the various genres. It is a refreshing read for any English teacher who is stuck in the rut of teaching the same novel for yet another year while observing that his or her classroom is becoming more and more diverse. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
AGERANGE: Ages 11 to Adult.

Campbell's book makes a very good case for teaching with short texts. Through chapters on short stories, essays, memoirs, poetry, picture books, and graphic novels, she shows how all aspects of literature can be taught using a variety of short pieces. She suggests structures for the classroom and strategies for eliciting both written and oral responses to these texts. She ties reading short texts to ways of looking at student writing in similar genres. The first two chapters look at the pedagogy, including standards, objectives, and assessment. She mentions literature learning logs, dialogue journals, essays, and small and large group discussion techniques with notes on where to find more information. Subsequent chapters include a rationale for using the particular type of short text, scenarios from Campbell's classroom, and themed sections with specific examples of text to use and activities that work. Each chapter includes an extensive bibliography of works cited. The works span a wide range of difficulty and interest levels. In her memoir section, she lists essays or excerpts from the works of Chris Crutcher, Annie Dillard, Barbara Kingsolver, Natalie Goldberg, Russell Baker, Stephen King, Georgia Heard, and Walter Dean Myers. The essay section covers how-to articles as well as work on reading, writing, politics, issues, nature, sports, family, and advice. This book will be valuable for beginning and veteran teachers because of the lists of short texts. The lists are well organized in charts that include the text's source and highlight the skill being discussed. Reviewer: Cindy Faughnan
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571107107
  • Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/19/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 617,395
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword   Leila Christenbury     vi
Acknowledgments     ix
Teaching Literature with Short Texts     1
Structures and Strategies That Support the Teaching of Short Texts     9
Short Stories     42
Essays     77
Memoir     116
Poetry     144
Children's Literature and Picture Books     175
Graphic Novels     199
Index     217
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