Critical Reading: Teaching Adolescents to Read the Word and the World ☆

Deborah Appleman

This Wednesday, March 12, Professor Deborah Appleman of Carleton College will be conducting an interactive workshop on the importance of critical reading in the high school classroom. Specifically, Appleman will demonstrate how to help adolescents read literature through multiple perspectives.

The workshop, which is based off Appleman’s book Critical Encounters in High School English will demonstrate the power of offering students a variety of contemporary theories to analyze and interpret both classic and contemporary texts.

“The workshop is about finding ways that language arts teachers can incorporate the teaching of reading into the teaching of literature by using multiple perspectives,” said Appleman. “I will be demonstrating some activities and lessons for teaching feminist theory, Marxist theory, reader response, and deconstruction.”

Students attending the workshop will have the opportunity to read a poem from four different literary perspectives and figure out how those perspectives lend to interpretation and comprehension.

“Both teachers and students need to study critical theory because it gives them a sense of the world at large,” said Appleman. “The world is a text for all of us and critical theory brings out the ideological basis for what people do and why they do it. When children read from multiple perspectives, they inhabit that way of thinking.”

In addition, Appleman will be using one of her more recent books Adolescent Literacy and the Teaching of Reading: Lessons for Teachers of Literature and Reading Better, Reading Smarter to help teachers find ways of addressing the current divide between teaching reading and teaching literature.

“Teaching literature and teaching reading are the same thing,” said Appleman. “It’s been kind of arbitrarily divided into two domains and students would be better served if they were integrated more fully.”

Contributed by Allison Baldwin