Using Young Adult Literature in the English Classroom

Using Young Adult Literature in the English Classroom

by John H. Bushman, Kay P. Bushman

This practical methods book provides future middle and high school English teachers with the direction they'll need to choose adolescent literature and to develop ideas for teaching it.  Using a highly effective conversational tone, the book provides the latest information about young adult literature in a short, concisely written,See more details below


This practical methods book provides future middle and high school English teachers with the direction they'll need to choose adolescent literature and to develop ideas for teaching it.  Using a highly effective conversational tone, the book provides the latest information about young adult literature in a short, concisely written, classroom-oriented format. The authors show the busy English teacher how to accomplish four important teaching goals including life-long reading, reader response, teaching the classics, and reaching a diverse student population. English Teachers, Grades 6-12.

Product Details

Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
Publication date:
Edition description:
Older Edition
Product dimensions:
7.48(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)

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Although there have been changes in the traditional English curriculum in middle and high schools, we believe more must be done. We believe that young adult literature—with its conflicts, themes, protagonists, and language—should be present in the curriculum to provide the necessary transition to the adult literature we hope students will eventually discover and learn to enjoy. This genre deserves the attention that is currently given the classics by those who aspire to teach English and by those who are already teaching English. Therein lies the motive for writing this book. Using Young Adult Literature in the English Classroom, Third Edition, is written for both prospective and experienced English teachers as they begin and continue the process of selecting the literature curriculum for their students. The book provides guidance for both choosing reading selections and developing teaching ideas.


We have made changes in the third edition of Using Young Adult Literature in the English Classroom that we think readers will appreciate. We have updated the references significantly to provide the reader with information about the most current young adult literature. We have significantly changed and updated two chapters: Chapter 8, "Diversity in Young Adult Literature," and Chapter 9, "Media and Young Adult Literature." We have also added to Chapter 6, "Organizing the Literature," the section on "Young Adult Literature in the Content Classes." We believe that young adult literature has a significant place in the subject areas in addition to English. What we haven't changed is theconversational tone of previous editions. We believe that both students in preservice programs and experienced teachers who want up-to-date information about young adult literature want to read about it in a short, clearly and concisely written, classroom-oriented work.


The content of the book is very much classroom oriented. In Chapter I we discuss the characteristics of young adults and how this literature meets their interests and needs. In Chapter 2 we focus on the literature itself, providing criteria by which teachers may evaluate young adult literature. The research and theory, along with classroom applications, of the reader-response approach to teaching literature are the subject of Chapter 3. In Chapters 4, 5, and 6 we focus on the classroom itself and how teachers can effectively incorporate young adult literature into the curriculum. Chapter 7 encourages teachers to evaluate their use of the classics. Chapter 8 provides literature for an ethnically and culturally diverse national population. Chapter 9 focuses on technology and how teachers may use it effectively in conjunction with young adult literature. Chapter 10 addresses concerns that many educators have about censorship. Chapter 11 briefly reviews the history of young adult literature.

To involve readers in this text, we suggest that they keep a Learning Log as they interact with this book. In addition to jotting down ideas as they read, readers can use our suggested ways to respond at the end of each chapter. Readers are thus able to participate in the reading-writing connection process that we suggest is beneficial for students.

To make this book as useful and accessible as possible, we have supplied three appendixes, one providing general teaching information and two supplementing the young adult literature information given in the text. Appendix A provides readers with a listing of resources (books, journals, and organizations) they may use for support when teaching young adult literature. Appendix B lists the works of young adult literature that we have cited in each chapter. We have also indicated which of these titles are more appropriate for middle school students.

Appendix C contains a long fist of young adult books, in various categories, that we believe are appropriate for use in middle school and high school classrooms. This information supplements the lists of titles and brief annotations that we provide in Chapter 6 as a representative sample of young adult literature.


Many individuals contributed in some way to the preparation of this book. Our students, both experienced and prospective classroom teachers, have readily shared their ideas and suggestions about unique and interesting teaching strategies. As we discussed these contributions, they became a part of our thinking of new and interesting ways to look at young adult literature.

Other contributors influenced us in more specific ways. They need to be thanked directly for their contributions to different chapters: Donald Lind (Hutchinson, Kansas), Chapter 1; Pamela J. Levitt (Lawrence, Kansas), Chapter 3; Jim Blasingame (University of Kansas), Chapter 6; Lisa Spiegel (University of South Dakota) and Judith Hayn (Auburn University), Chapter 8; and Kit Gorrell (Johnson County Community College), Chapter 9. We express our appreciation to Sara Pike, Amy Morgan, Rachel Buckley, and Kristina Pruitt. We also wish to thank Amy Gehl at Carlisle Communications, our production editor, for her valuable contributions to the content and structure of this edition.

In addition, we thank the reviewers for this edition: Colleen Birchett, Chicago State University; Joyce L. Graham, Radford University; Patricia P Kelly, Virginia Tech; Terry C. Ley, Auburn University; Gloria A. Neubert, Towson University; Patricia Luse Smith, Eastern Washington University; and Lisa Spiegel, University of South Dakota.

Finally, we say thank you to the creative authors of young adult literature for their devotion to the genre that has allowed teachers to more easily turn their students on to the world of reading.

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