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- Create a Talisman -

As we work with our teacher education students to use the literature involvement activity, "Create a Talisman," we ask them to go beyond the text to create a meaningful talisman that is reflective of the character. The three-phased process for the talisman development begins with readers doing an intensive character study (phase 1), followed by an examination of the culture and traditions that the character comes from (phase 2). The character study and culture examination then serve as the springboard for the talisman creation (phase 3). The process for each of of these phases is described below.



Phase 1: Select any character from one of the books you have read for this class. It may be either a major or minor character. Pick a character that intrigues you and whom you wish to examine more fully. Use the following to assist you:

What is the character like?
What motivates him or her?
How is the character viewed by other characters?
Identify key words that give insights into the character.
What objects remind you of the character? Why?
Are there objects that you think represent aspects of the character? What and why?
Close your eyes and visualize the character. Jot down characteristics that you think the character has. If you were to visualize an object that reminds you of the character, what might it be?

Phase 2: Identify the cultural heritage of the character. What customs, traditions, rituals, or symbols of the culture have played a role in the characterís life? What is their impact on the character? How does this heritage influence his or her actions and behavior?

Phase 3: Given the insights you have gained about the characters and culture from which they come from, design a talisman for the character. The talisman may be either a concrete object or you may design an abstract one. Select an object that the character does not possess in the book. Pick something that will give special insight into the nature of the character, the circumstances of the characterís life, and an awareness of the culture. Remember that by its nature a talisman is largely symbolic. Donít immediately settle on the obvious.





Brown and Stephens. United in Diversity: Using Multicultural Young Adult Literature in the Classroom. NCTE, 1998.















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This web page was last updated on: 21 June 2007

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