English 341: It’s Like This

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Course calendar can be found above and HERE.



The course is organized around a series of “make cycles.” These cycles will allow us to develop routines: discussing reading, creating/doing things with the reading, and sharing reading. Within each cycle, we will pose questions, write a review on Goodreads, and make an artifact that represents the ideas in our books.

  1. Make Cycle 1: Fairy Tales (Kim provides links to reading)
  2. Make Cycle 2: Series Books (Series of Unfortunate Events, Origami Yoda Series, King & Kayla, OR Keena Ford)
  3. Make Cycle 3: Chapter Books (George, Hello Universe, The War That Saved My Life, Out of My Mind, OR Flora & Ulysses)
  4. Make Cycle 4: Free Verse Children’s Novels (The Crossover, Inside Out & Back Again, Enchanted Air, OR Brown Girl Dreaming)
  5. Make Cycle 5: Graphic Novels (Smile, El Deafo, Roller Girl, The Best We Could Do, OR Pashmina)
  6. Make Cycle 6: Young Adult (YA) Novels (Ready Player One, Eleanor & Park, Bone Gap, The Hate U Give, OR We Are Okay)
  7. Make Cycle 7: Remix & Reflection (Battle Bunny-Kim will provide link)

In addition, trios will share picture books with us almost each week, so we can expand our picture book resources, particularly an awareness of diverse books and authors.

We will end the course by writing a reflection and manifesto about our beliefs related to the teaching of reading.

Here are the assignment descriptions:

Blogs (6@10 pts each: 60 points) 

You can find the blog prompts here. Typically due every other Sunday evening on our course website. Kim will register everyone and send you an individual username and password for logging in to our site so you can post your blog. 

  • Peer response to blogs (in class work: must be in class to receive credit): 6@5 pts each 30pts

Picture Book Presentations (20 points)

Pairs or trios will be randomly assigned an author from the list below (trading with another person is totally fine). Find books by that author in CSUC children’s book collection, Butte County Library, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.

Presentation: Share book titles, author info, dates, awards. Give us a feel for one of the books. Read some of it out loud. Show the illustrations and discuss how the art work and type face contributes to the meaning of the book. Discuss what the book says about the child, about childhood and the world of childhood. Think about the plot, the symbols, the relationships, gender construction (what it means to be a boy or a girl?). What are the values underlying the book? Engage us in an activity connected to the book and its ideas.

Try to keep presentations to 15 min (I won’t time you, but it would be great to stay around 15 min). Links to our picture book authors below. I’ll give you time in class to plan with your picture book team.

Peter H Reynolds (Sept 19)  Lindsay, Paz, Lexi   (link to slides and resources)

Kevin Henkes (Sept 26)   Katie, Brent (link to slides and resources)

David Wiesner (Oct 3)  Vanessa, Beali

Mo Willems (Oct 10)  Liz, Cyrill

Lauren Castillo (Oct 17)   Stephanie, Annabelle

Yuyi Morales (Oct 24)    Rachel L, Amreena

Matt de la Peña (Oct 31)  Natalie, Cassandra

Javaka Steptoe (Nov 7)   Sarah, Sabrina

Barb Rosenstock (Nov 26)  Zia, Rachel M

Carol Boston Weatherford (Nov 28)  Sydney, Makayla

Ezra Jack Keats (Dec 3)  Lucy, Mario

Mac Barnett (Dec 5) Destinee, David

Jon Scieszka (Dec 5)   Lauren, Erik

  • Various due dates. See calendar.

“Makes”: Sharing Artifacts Based on Our Readings (6 @15 pts: 90 points)

We will end each make cycle by creating an artifact that represents the ideas in your book. You will have a lot of choice here in how you (or as a group) decide to share your book. You can create a visual map, a book trailer or short film, give an Ignite talk, act out a scene for our class, write a song, write fanfiction…lots of possible ways to share. You can decide to do your own thing or work in teams.  

You will also write a brief artist’s/writer’s statement explaining what you were attempting to do with this make: how did you approach this artifact? what worked? what did not work out as planned?

Post to our course website (post an image of the make or a link or…). This assignment has two parts: 1) the make itself (10 pts) and 2) a reflection about your artifact (5 pts)

Here are some great examples from a previous semester.  Another example HERE.

Reviews on Goodreads (5@5 pts: 25 points)

You’ll create an account on Goodreads and write reviews for the books you read at the end of each make cycle. Goodreads is a great space to find recommendations and a community of readers. We’ll write these together in class at the end of our book cycles. You’ll need to be in class to receive credit.

Reflection and Manifesto (25 points)

We’ll end the semester with a teaching reading manifesto and a reflection on what we’ve learned about the teaching of reading in our course.

You’ll start this paper by reflecting on your work in the class. Read through your discussion questions, think about our Reading in the Wild conversations, your artifacts, silent reading time, your participation on Goodreads, your blogs–what have you learned about teaching reading, about your own reading habits, about students’ reading practices? What is challenging about teaching reading, what is surprising, what do you look forward to?

Then, turn to the creation of a bulleted list…your personal manifesto about teaching reading. Think of it as a “This I Believe About the Teaching of Reading…” Here’s an example from one of my colleagues as it relates to writing: “Things We Know For Sure About the Teaching of Writing…”

Here are some examples from previous semesters:




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