- Character Awards -
We know that one of the significant values of literature is that it helps young people to understand both themselves and others. The exploration of characters plays a crucial role in developing these understandings. Frequently, students rely on simple physical descriptions or explicitly stated views of a character when they are asked what that character is like. In this approach, we ask students to look at fictional people in new ways by "nominating" them for awards that reveal something about their characters. The following strategy effectively involves students in looking at characters in nontraditional ways. While there are a number of variations on this approach, we will look at two.
The teacher should provide a model for the activity, such as the following:
The award for the person I would most like to have on a camping trip:
*Brian (Hatchet by Gary Paulsen)
The award for the person to whom I would tell my most guarded secrets:
*Park's mother (Park's Quest by Katharine Paterson)
The award for the person I would most like to have guarding my house:
*Pluto (The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton)
The award for the person I would most like to have as an older brother:
*Jim (Father Figure by Richard Peck)
In the first variation, the teacher provides the award categories for students to make their nominations. Students then have to explain their choices for the awards.
In the second variation, students, usually working in groups, create the award categories and then make their nominations. They also have to explain their categories and choices.
Brown and Stephens. Teaching Young Adult Literature: Sharing the Connection. Wadsworth, 1995.
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21 June 2007
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