Teaching the Selected Works of Walter Dean Myers

Overview


Walter Dean Myers is recognized as one of young adult literature's most gifted authors. Yet his resume can seem almost too long. Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and the Michael L. Printz Award, he has penned over 100 titles across a wide variety of genres. Teaching the Selected Works of Walter Dean Myers guides you through some of Myers' finest books, helping you make the most of his rich, realistic narratives in your classroom.

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Overview


Walter Dean Myers is recognized as one of young adult literature's most gifted authors. Yet his resume can seem almost too long. Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and the Michael L. Printz Award, he has penned over 100 titles across a wide variety of genres. Teaching the Selected Works of Walter Dean Myers guides you through some of Myers' finest books, helping you make the most of his rich, realistic narratives in your classroom.

In Teaching the Selected Works of Walter Dean Myers, Connie Zitlow offers ideas for teaching Walter Dean Myers that connect middle and high school students with his powerful novels. Beginning with Myers' first book, Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff, and continuing on to his award-winning Monster and the poetic Street Love, she highlights how his rich imagery, ear for dialogue, and explorations with language and form attract students to the unique and universal aspects of his memorable characters. She even presents suggestions for a unit on war with Fallen Angels as the central work, giving you insight into its themes as well as practical advice for navigating its challenging imagery as you meet language arts standards.

Teaching the Selected Works of Walter Dean Myers includes instructional activities, examples of students' work, and informal and formal assessments that can be taken directly into classrooms for use with Myers' novels and even his poetry. With all this, an extensive bibliography of Myers' works and resources for teaching them, useful background information on the author's own life, and a wide repertoire of classroom ideas, Teaching the Selected Works of Walter Dean Myers is an ideal way to help inspire secondary readers with the dynamic artistry behind his writing.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
AGERANGE: Ages 11 to Adult.

Over decades, reading young adult novels in small circles or with whole classes has produced rewarding moments for this reviewer and her students. The Young Adult Novels in the Classroom series shows appreciation for the powers of adolescent literature. These two new titles about Katherine Paterson and Walter Dean Myers join books on Mildred Taylor and Robert Cormier. Especially appealing about the Zitlow and Stover titles is that they cast teachers as thoughtful, creative, and experimental, working with students as interactive decision makers. No prescriptive formulas or mindless copy-ready worksheets appear here. Zitlow provides examples of practicing educators' ways of approaching Myers's Fallen Angels, as well as a Harlem grouping of readings and a multigenre grouping. Choices, connections, and critical thinking play key roles in listings of journal invitations, discussion questions, and contemporary film comparisons. The author provides helpful background on Myers, information readily available but perhaps not easily gathered by time-stressed teachers. Writing prompts show process awareness. Stover follows a similar pattern with Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia, as well as historical novels Lyddie and Jacob Have I Loved, plus a literature circle project. Choice, individual student accountability, and feedback are significant elements. Intuitive, student-centered instructors who have worked successfully with classic YA novels may consider these slim volumes unnecessary, but for wary novices or veterans searching for ways to truly engage students in meaningful literacy, these works are indispensable. Stover sadly notes that federal and statemandates may now restrict time, topics, and methodology, stripping educators of autonomy, creativity, and professional judgment. Even so, she demonstrates that intrepid YA believers implement after-school reading programs and family reading circles. These authors and their novels are that powerful. Reviewer: Patti Sylvester Spencer
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Connie S. Zitlow is the author of the Heinemann title Teaching the Selected Works of Walter Dean Myers (2007). A former English and music teacher, she is Professor Emeritus at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she taught courses in young adult literature, content-area literacy, and secondary teaching methods and also served as Director of Adolescence to its Young Adult and Multi-Age Licensure Programs. She is the author of Lost Masterworks of Young Adult Literature (2002), and she has contributed chapters to Adolescent Literature as a Complement to the Classics, Volumes II, III, and IV, Rationales for Young Adult Literature, and Using Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers Cope with Societal Issues. Young adult literature and its teaching are the focus of articles she has published in journals such as The ALAN Review and English Journal, for which she also edited the "Professional Links" column.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction     ix
"I Was Not in the Books": Walter Dean Myers, the Man and His Works     1
"I Tell Stories Too, Only I Write Mine Down": Stories in Many Genres     12
Life in Harlem: Choice Novels and Poetry     23
Fallen Angels: Young Adults and the Extremes of War     37
Many Ways to Tell a Story: Three Remarkable Novels     61
Works Cited     73
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