It has been a while. I retired in December 2021 and then my wife, Dana, and I prepared to serve a mission for our church in Kigali, Rwanda where we served from April 2022 until the end of May 2023. After that, we traveled a bit in Africa and then moved into our home in St. George, Utah. We did some minor remodeling and are starting to feel like we are moved in.
Back to the topic:
The book represents nearly 15 years of me wondering how people really are prepared to teach and become scholars of Young Adult Literature. I fell into the role almost by accident. I was a new graduate student at The University of Georgia and a as part of my assistantship I was required to work with undergraduate preservice teachers. Our instruction team consisted of faculty members Peg Graham and Sally Hudson-Ross with Sharon Murphy and I as new PhD students. As we divided up responsibilities, I ended up coordinating the strand that involve the teaching of Young Adult Literature. What a wonderful gift. At the same time, there was no instruction. I just did what I wanted and started to find out who knew about this stuff in a formalized way. During the next NCTE Convention, I became aware of ALAN and several people who were deeply involved with the organization--Chris Crowe, Marshall George, Joan Kaywell, Teri Lesesne and Gary Salvner. Both Joan and Marshall had written pieces for English Education that became important landmarks for my work and interest in Young Adult Literature.
Of course, as one of the editors, I recommend that you buy the book personally, but you can also encourage your department to buy it if you work in a middle school or high school setting. If you work in a college or university setting, please request that your university library buys a copy as well as your curriculum library for your college of education. It is also a wonderful book for a group of colleagues to read in a book group setting.
An edited book doesn't exist without the hard work of those who write the chapters. Below we provide a brief introduction the opening of the book and its set up in the first two chapters. This is followed by the titles of the subsequent chapters with the current bios of the authors.
An Overview of the Book.
Ch. 1 Introduction by Steven T. Bickmore and T. Hunter Strickland
Ch. 2 What We Learn from the Research on YAL Methods Syllabi by T. Hunter Strickland and Steven T. Bickmore
The Rest of the Chapters- The Authors and the Topics.
This chapter reviews one university English professor’s approach to teaching a Young Adult Literature course. It gives a detailed look into how this professor has tailored his semester-long course to be the most effective for his students, including how required reading is decided and assigned, how discussions are facilitated, and what activities can be used to supplement these conversations. It emphasizes a historical approach to YA literature, demonstrating how students gain a broader understanding for current YA trends if they are taught how to contact trace the beginnings of those trends and how they’ve evolved. This chapter also includes examples from the professor’s own syllabus and the reasoning behind his reading selections. Overall, this chapter gives an overview of how a university-level Young Adult Literature course can be effectively structured around a robust reading list and student-led class discussions.
After a decade of teaching high school English, Chris Crowe taught at universities in Japan and Hawaii before moving to the English department at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He teaches a range of English courses including composition, creative writing, and pedagogy, but for nearly thirty years he's most often taught YA literature to English majors and to nonmajors. He's the author of scores of professional articles, book chapters, and books as well as YA fiction and nonfiction.
Kiri Case is currently studying to receive her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. There she has taught freshman writing and beginning creative writing, and she's worked as a research assistant for Chris Crowe's young adult literature course. Her first YA novel, The Hollywood Dropout was published in August of 2021. When not working on her next novel she writes for television.
KaaVonia Hinton is a professor in the Teaching & Learning Department at Old Dominion University and the author of several articles and books, including Angela Johnson: Poetic Prose (2006), Integrating Multicultural Literature in Libraries and Classrooms in Secondary Schools (with Gail K. Dickinson, 2007), Sharon M. Draper: Embracing Literacy (2009), and Young Adult Literature: Exploration, Evaluation and Appreciation, 3rd ed. (with Katherine T. Bucher, 2013).
This chapter examines the power of student choice when it is infused into every aspect of a young adult literature methods course. With a decided focus on using choice to foster teacher candidates' identities as both readers and writers of YAL, this chapter shows how choice in reading and writing gives students agency and power to tell their own stories, prepare to work with diverse students in their own ELA classrooms, and work towards change in their communities. Through intense independent reading and targeted choice in academic and creative writing, this methods course weaves together the potential of 21st century technology and a chance for teacher candidates to seek a better understanding of themselves and their future students.
T. Hunter Strickland, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Literacy Education in the College of Education at Anderson University. He received his Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Education with a focus on English Education at the University of Georgia where he studied the young adult literature methods course in secondary English teacher education programs across the United States. His teaching at AU focuses on Prek-12th grade literacy including elementary literacy, secondary content area literacy, and English education. Through his understanding of young adult literature pedagogy, he believes that the best literacy teachers of any grade level are teachers who foster their own identities as readers and writers.
Ch. 6 A Social Action Approach to Young Adult Literature: Reading and Moving for Justice by Ashley Boyd and Janine Darragh
Ashley S. Boyd is an associate professor of English education at Washington State University where she is a faculty member in the English Department. She teaches English Methods, Young Adult, Literature, and Critical Theory, and her current research focuses on secondary teachers’ social justice pedagogies and students’ development of social action projects. (email@example.com; @boyd3_boyd)
Janine J. Darragh is an associate professor of literacy and ESL in the Department of Education at University of Idaho where she instructs courses in English Education, Young Adult Literature, and ESL. Her current research focus is sociocultural issues in English teaching and learning in both the United States and abroad. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr. Melanie Hundley is Professor in the Practice of Language and Literacy Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College; her research examines how digital and multimodal composition informs the development of pre-service teachers’ writing pedagogy. Additionally, she explores the use of digital and social media in young adult literature. She teaches writing methods courses that focus on digital and multimodal composition and young adult literature courses that explore race, class, gender, and sexual identity in young adult texts. She has taught both middle and high school English Language Arts and co-directed RAPS, a reading program for middle school students. She is the author of multiple chapters on teaching young adult literature in middle and high school classes. Her work has been published in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, The ALAN Review, Adolescent Literature Today, Innovative Practices in Teacher Preparation and Graduate-Level Teacher Education Programs and Perspectives on Digital Comics.
Steve Bickmore is an Emeritus professor English Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He established the academic blog, Dr. Bickmore’s YA Wednesday that runs a variety of posts on Young Adult Literature from Scholars, Teachers, Librarians, Graduate Students since 2014 (http://www.yawednesday.com). He is a past editor of The ALAN Review (2009-2014) and founding editor of Study and Scrutiny: Research in Young Adult Literature. (email@example.com)
This chapter discusses how to teach a YAL course using graphic novels as primary texts, to be used with both novice and experienced readers. It pays attention to the specific conventions of graphic novels and how to structure discussion and learning using these conventions. It includes potential syllabi for readings and reading topics, suggested titles for study, as well as assessment activities for promoting students to read with an informed analytic eye on the medium. It also provides instruction and resources for how to instruct students to compose their own graphic responses to better familiarize them with the form and the craft that goes into producing it.
Dr. Stergios Botzakis is a Professor in Theory and Practice in Teacher Education at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His areas of expertise are content area literacy, middle school education, working with struggling adolescent readers, and new literacies. He blogs regularly at http://graphicnovelresources.blogspot.com/
Fawn Canady, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Adolescent and Digital Literacies in the Department of Curriculum and Secondary Education at Sonoma State University. She prepares English teachers, literacy teachers, and teaches master’s courses in educational technology. The syllabus in this volume is designed as an elective for the ed-tech area of emphasis for an MA in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning. Her research focuses on digital multimodal composition and new literacy practices. Fawn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gretchen Rumohr is a professor of English and department chair at Aquinas College, where she teaches writing and language arts methods. She is also a Co-Director of the UNLV Summit on the Research and Teaching of Young Adult Literature and Chief Curator of Dr. Bickmore's YA Wednesday blog.
Dr. Sophia Tatiana Sarigianides is Professor & Coordinator of English Education in the English Department at Westfield State University in Western Massachusetts. She teaches courses on young adult literature, English Methods, and the role of race, social class and gender in the ELA classroom. Her research and scholarship focus on antiracist teaching strategies and the role of conceptions of adolescence in young adult literature and in teacher thinking. She is the co-author, with Dr. Carlin Borsheim-Black, of the 2019 book, Letting Go of Literary Whiteness: Antiracist Literature Instruction for White Students which won the 2022 Outstanding Book Award from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) in the area of Research and Dissemination. She is also the author, with Robert Petrone and Mark Lewis, of Rethinking "the Adolescent" in Adolescent Literacy.
Composed as a blueprint for a syllabus and argument for the continued utility of theoretical frameworks in generating socially relevant classroom talk, activity, and analysis, this chapter contributes to scholarship on pedagogy, critical theory, and YAL by highlighting two frameworks instructors might add to their existing critical repertoire: posthumanism and trauma studies. Posthumanism, with an emphasis on material culture, explores how non-human actors (things) exert influence in networks of relation, and trauma theory, applied to nonfiction narratives, highlights methods for understanding and representing traumatic events. Both frameworks stand to enhance students’ range of interpretive skills and amplify literary study’s public resonance.
Stacy Graber has previously served as an Associate Professor, Program Coordinator of English Education, and cross-appointed faculty member between the Department of English and World Languages and the Department of Teacher Education and Leadership Studies at Youngstown State University. She serves as a supervisor of teacher candidates for all levels of field placements, instructor of English methods courses such as reading in the content areas and the teaching of writing, instructor of literature courses including children’s literature and young adult literature for middle school and high school-age readers, and instructor in composition courses including writing for teachers and introduction to fiction writing. She participates actively on numerous committees, most notably the YSU English Festival Committee. Her areas of interest include pedagogy, popular culture, critical theory, and semiotics.
Identity development, reading, teaching, and learning are all situated within and are contextualized by place. Relying on sociocultural definitions of place, this chapter discusses the salience of place for the reading and teaching of young adult literature (YAL) in both teacher preparation programs and secondary classrooms. It offers an example of a course that centers rural place, specifically, including activities and assignments where preservice teachers (1) define place and rurality, (2) read place theory and develop critical place-based ways of reading YAL, and (3) engage with pedagogical theory to design place-based units that teach rural YAL across multiple geographies (rural, suburban, urban).
Chea Parton is a farm girl and former rural student and teacher. She is the founder of Literacy In Place, a website that collects, curates, and reviews rural YAL as well as Reading Rural YAL, a YouTube series where she book-talks rural YAL and interviews rural YAL authors. She currently works with preservice teachers at the University of North Texas. You can reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @readingrural.
Reading and incorporating young adult literature (YAL) into all classes is one way to make class more engaging for students and teachers while simultaneously incorporating and demonstrating the standards. This chapter examines different approaches to teaching YAL at the high school level through the development of a young adult literature elective course. The author includes ways to structure the course, thematic unit ideas, book titles, and assessment suggestions. Integrating YAL into the high school curriculum provided students with a chance to see what life might be like for others, opened up in-depth conversations, and helped students to read more than ever before.
Trista Owczarzak teaches English at Oakfield High School in Wisconsin. She teaches English 1, Senior English, AP English Language and Composition, Social Criticism Literature, and Young Adult Literature. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English/Secondary Education from Northern Michigan University in 2011 and is currently pursuing a Masters of Library and Information Science from University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Her passion is reading and teaching YA literature in all classes.
In order to engage with and be successful in their education, young people need to see themselves reflected in the curriculum materials being brought into classrooms. Classroom educators who are selecting young adult literature to incorporate into their lessons and curriculum are now being asked to be experts in not just selecting materials that meet academic needs but also that authentically depict characters and experiences of historically underrepresented identities without perpetuating negative stereotypes and biases. This level of researching and evaluating young adult literature requires a high level of information literacy, and in order to prepare pre-service educators for this responsibility, teacher education programs need to be incorporating advanced information literacy concepts and skill development into their programs. This chapter focuses on how the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education can be used in young adult literature courses to prepare future educators to find and evaluate inclusive classroom materials in order to create engaging educational experiences for all students.
Amanda Melilli is the head librarian at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s (UNLV) Teacher Development & Resources Library which provides research support to UNLV’s teacher education programs. She specializes in youth library collections with a focus on the discovery and evaluation of diverse children’s/young adult literature. Her research focuses on promoting the use of often underutilized youth materials, specifically the importance of incorporating graphic novels into elementary/secondary classrooms and supporting LGBTQIA+ youth through inclusive school library collections and curriculum.
Please encourage your institutions library to by the book. If you decide to use the book as as the center of a book group experience. Please let us know. One of the co-editors would be happy to join a discussion.
Until next week.