This response was written all the way back in October and I simply forgot about it. It was a long drive back from Austin.
Feed – YA Literature, dystopian, science fiction/fantasy
As I was traveling for the weekend, I listened to most of the audio book and read the end when I arrived in Austin. When I began listening to the audio I found it pretty easy to follow the plot and understand the language. The new language was meg brag. The read-alouder (I am well aware that isn’t a real term, but it should be) helped me to understand the story through his expert use of inflection and amazing ability to have different voices for all of the characters. It wasn’t until I started to read the book on my own that I had trouble understanding the novel. When I switched from listening to reading I expected to fully understand the story and not have any trouble with the language, I was very wrong. I T-R-U-D-G-E-D through the story as a reader. The language, that I had no problem understanding as a listener, was suddenly foreign to me. I was still engaged, but perhaps only because I was originally enthralled by the read-alouder. I’m typing this before I drive back to New Orleans, but I am going to listen to the last 100 pages of the book on my way home to see if I will be able to better understand it. As a teacher, to help my kids better understand this novel, I would create a vocabulary list that could be filled in as we read the book as a class. I would also read aloud or use the audio book (I really liked it, the commercial banner bits were especially cool!) for at least the first chapter, if not the whole book in class. I think that the kids might be more adaptable to new language than adults and would be able to understand the new language through the context much more quickly. I read often and vigorously, and I had difficulty in reading this book, but when I was listening to the audio book, not only was I completely absorbed in the story, I was also leaving each chapter with more information than I believe I could have from a single read. I really think that the key to understanding and appreciating this novel thoroughly is in reading it aloud. In this way the teacher and the students can experience the book together in a captivating manner.
I also read these two picture books by MT Anderson for my Children’s Literature class, both are fantastic reads and make great fun for a read-aloud!
The Serpent Came to Gloucester
– folklore, poetry, fantasy, 3rd – 6th grade
Me, All Alone, at the End of the World
– dystopian, fantasy, 4th – 6th grade