- Teaching Young Adult Literature: Integrating, Implementing, and Re-Imagining the Common Core ed. by Judith A. Hayn et al.
This edited collection offers a variety of perspectives about ways to incorporate young adult literature (or YAL) across content areas while meeting Common Core Standards (CCSS). Chapter authors come from a variety of disciplines including English education, literacy and literature, secondary education, and educational psychology. The book serves as a resource for educators who want to incorporate young adult literature across the curriculum in pedagogically sound ways. While the focus is largely on young adult literature as a curricular tool, the editors also wanted to ensure the efficacy of young adult literature as a way to increase student motivation and engagement. Each chapter not only presents an argument for why to use young adult literature but also provides examples of how it might look in a secondary classroom.
The ways that the authors present not only how to incorporate young adult literature into classes but also why make it a beneficial text for teachers currently in the classroom, as well as for preservice teachers. It would be a strong addition to a disciplinary literacy course for secondary education majors across contents, as well as for those majoring in English. The first chapter, written by the text’s editors, offers ways for educators to support the pedagogical use of YAL as part of their curriculum. The CCSS state that students should read increasingly complex texts from a range of genres and tasks as they progress through grade levels. The language of the CCSS implies that teachers should have ownership of text selection based on a variety of reader factors. This chapter is particularly well written in the ways that it explains how the standards conceptualize rigorous text (a combination of quantitative, qualitative, and reader factors). While some teachers may want to use YAL as part of classroom instruction, it may seem nearly impossible when there are no YAL titles listed in the exemplars list included in the CCSS document. (There are a variety of texts that this reviewer would consider middle grade.) By explicitly addressing ways that YAL can be seen as rigorous (according to the CCSS) and including the importance of engaging students as readers, the authors provide readers with insight and support to make their own arguments for using YAL.
Of particular interest is the third chapter, written by Linda T. Parsons and Patricia E. Bandré, which provides a more detailed examination of text complexity [End Page 232] (as described in the CCSS). The authors then build an argument for how teachers can support and increase adolescent reader motivation through text selection. Throughout the chapters, there are examples with specific works of young adult literature like Wintergirls (Laurie Halse Anderson, 2010), Code Name Verity (Elizabeth E. Wein, 2012), Revolution (Deborah Wiles, 2014), and Noggin (John Corey Whaley, 2014). This helps to ground the book in the very literature it is striving to support and advocate.
Other chapters examine argumentative writing, point of view, narration, representations of inclusion, and book clubs. Chapter 2 by Crag Hill and Karina R. Clemmons focuses on incorporating young adult literature into secondary health classes. While disciplinary and content area literacies often refer to all content areas broadly, it can be challenging to find well-written and specific examples of literacy and literature in health and physical education. This chapter builds a strong argument for young adult literature as a tool for content and literacy in a health education class and then provides detailed examples of pedagogical design and implementation. The First Part Last (Angela Johnson, 2004) affords an opportunity for readers to consider teen pregnancy and parenting using a jigsaw teaching strategy. Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls (2010) is an entry point for conversations about grief, eating disorders, and self-mutilation. The authors specifically address the way that this title can be used to address CCSS related to using evidence from a text, analyzing character relationships, and debating...