Recommended Trade Books for Adult Literacy Programs

Education Teaching Ideas

Use books that feature descriptions of teachers: Thank you, Mr. Falker; Tomas and the Library Lady; The Circuit; or short stories from America Street and In Nueva York. Have pairs of students read each title and make lists of characteristics of teachers. These could be shared, and a class list of positive and negative teacher characteristics could be developed.

Ask students to write a character description of a teacher they remember well-either positively or negatively. Compare descriptions with list generated in above activity.

Ask individuals to select a book from the matrix and read it, keeping notes about the importance of education in the story. Share these as a class. Synthesize reasons.

Ask students to indicate whether they agree or disagree with each of the reasons developed above. Ask them to talk about, and then write about, their opinions. As an alternative, students might select what they believe to be the most important reason for education and write a piece explaining and justifying their decisions.

Using ideas generated from the two previous activities, ask students to develop several interview questions about the importance of education. Then ask each student to interview 2-3 people using these questions. When the interviews are complete, share results. (If students tape-record the interviews, the transcription process will offer lots of good opportunities to teach writing in context.)

Select books representing different time periods or cultures. Ask students to read two books that represent different time periods or cultures and to make notes about similarities and differences in education. A Venn diagram might be a good follow-up. Or you may want students to identify the most important similarity or difference and to write about why.

Using a strategy similar to the one described above, ask students to compare fiction to nonfiction with regard to treatment of schools, students, teachers, etc.

Select several titles from the ESOL column. Ask students to read them and to synthesize major issues faced by a person attending school while simultaneously trying to learn a new language

Education Matrix

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