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Reading Literary Non- Fiction Cynthia Shanahan University of Illinois at Chicago.

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1 Reading Literary Non- Fiction Cynthia Shanahan University of Illinois at Chicago

2 What is literary non-fiction Alternatively known as "creative nonfiction," "literary journalism," and the "literature of fact," literary nonfiction is that branch of writing which employs literary techniques and artistic vision usually associated with fiction or poetry to report on actual persons, places, or events.

3 What is literary Non-Fiction? Fiction Poems, short stories, novels Entertaining Plots Mostly narrative Range of authors craft techniques Literary Non- Fiction Biographies, essays, speeches, etc. Entertaining and Informational Varied styles and structures Mixed text Range of authors craft techniques

4 Example: February 22, 2011 The Medicine You stalk about the house, I can hear your labored breathing. I call to you, ask if you need anything, but you cannot hear me. Your hearing went long ago, before you were sick. You look like a different person, your hair thin, clean shaven. You resemble your brothers more than ever; the same gaunt neck and angled teeth. You look more like an old man now than I can remember; these past months have added years to your face with a speed that is mortifying. I cant help but think that your thin, cow-licked hair is like that of a small child, a baby duck. They deign to discuss what is happening to you in front of us. Even so it is more or less clear, the riddles and euphemisms dont hide your frailty. They talk about the poison being pumped into your veins as if it is elixir. As if is is not wracking the body which has turned against you. The medicine, they say. The medicine.

5 Why is reading Literary non- fiction important? Students arent given an adequate introduction or practice in this genre in high school. It is a major genre on the ACT It is a major genre in the Common Core Standards: Fulfilling the Standards for 6–12 ELA requires much greater attention to a specific category of informational textliterary nonfictionthan has been traditional.

6 A part of life for an informed citizenry Every day, individuals read biographies, political and personal essays, and character sketches in magazines, newspapers, books, and on-line sources.

7 A part of college and career readiness Encountered in history, social science, the humanities, educationnearly every subject matter in which students take coursework.

8 Purposes for reading literary non-fiction To be entertained To learn information: More memorable more metaphorical To appreciate an authors craft

9 Type of ACT question relating to literary non-fiction Which of the following would provide the best introductory sentence for this paragraph? It is difficult to understand why people love to gossip so much. Men get their hair cut by barbers, while women get their hair done by hairdressers. In the past, the local hair salon was a focal point in a womans world. Hairspray has always been one of the hairdressers best-loved tools.

10 The lessons Essential Question: How do we define who we are? Modeling Guided Practice Independent Practice Feedback

11 Vocabulary Billowing Annihilation Muster Relegated Tangential Lament Mastication Scurrilous Watershed Mincing Quixotic Satiety Swathed Dowagers volubility

12 Examples of Strategies Before Reading KWL Triple Entry Vocabulary Journal Knowledge Rating Guide Anticipation Guide During Reading Discussion Web Say, Show Mean Annotation – Coding/Comprehension Monitoring After Reading Group Outlining – Structural Analysis Interactive Word Wall Summarizing – the Last Lines Critical Thinking Questions Style Analysis Synthesis Speaking and Writing

13 Writing activities 3 Paragraph Argument Summarizing Activities

14 What will teachers need to do to teach the unit? Decide how to introduce and frame/reframe the essential question as it relates to each of the readings Help students to write a culminating essay that answers the question Decide before teaching how the strategies can be used to help students understand the piece of literary non-fiction, especially in relation to the essential question The teacher provides the glue!

15 Example: The falling man

16 Example: The Falling Man In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity's divine suction or by what awaits him. His arms are by his side, only slightly outriggered. His left leg is bent at the knee, almost casually. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. His black high-tops are still on his feet. In all the other pictures, the people who did what he did -- who jumped -- appear to be struggling against horrific discrepancies of scale. They are made puny by the backdrop of the towers, which loom like colossi, and then by the event itself. Some of them are shirtless; their shoes fly off as they flail and fall; they look confused, as though trying to swim down the side of a mountain. The man in the picture, by contrast, is perfectly vertical, and so is in accord with the lines of the buildings behind him. He splits them, bisects them: Everything to the left of him in the picture is the North Tower; everything to the right, the South. Though oblivious to the geometric balance he has achieved, he is the essential element in the creation of a new flag, a banner composed entirely of steel bars shining in the sun. Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else -- something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man's posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second squared. He will soon be traveling at upwards of 150 miles per hour, and he is upside down. In the picture, he is frozen; in his life outside the frame, he drops and keeps dropping until he disappears. Read more:

17 What should a teacher consider? What does this piece say in regards to the essential question: how do we define who we are? How will you help your students to address the question? What stylistic features are in this text that your students should know? How is this text structured? Which before, during, and after activities make most sense for your students? For example, how could a discussion web be used with this story? What does this piece say about the author? Why did he write it? What does he want you to think about the falling man? How will you get your students to pay attention to these issues?

18 Framing the Essential Question Look at the man in the photograph. How would you describe his demeanor? From the text: Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else -- something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. How do you think this man is defining himself?

19 Other interesting questions to foreground On 9/11, many photographs and videos were taken and displayed to the public. Was this a good idea? What might be some benefits and drawbacks? Photographers for news outlets often stand on the sidelines and take photographs of tragic situations. What responsibilities are they fulfilling? What responsibilities might they be shirking? What does that say about how photographers define themselves?

20 Stylistic features Descriptive: His left leg is bent at the knee, almost casually. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. His black high-tops are still on his feet. Metaphorical: He departs this earth like an arrow. They are made puny by the backdrop of the towers, which loom like colossi, The author presents his interpretation: There is something almost rebellious in the man's posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death

21 Structure Comparison/Contrast: This man from others who jumped from the tower Interpretation of motives and demeanor Interspersed with factual information (his rate of speed) and physical description (his arms only slightly outriggered)

22 StrategiesBefore Reading: Vocabulary Words in Context Definition in my own words Picture, memory aid, phrase Billowing:. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. To bulge out because of the movement of air Sheets billowing in the breeze

23 StrategiesDuring (and after) Reading: Discussion Web Reasons for Yes 1.He was exercising his will Reasons for No 1. He was traveling at a high rate of speed Should the man have jumped out of the window? Our Answer: Other: Should the photographer have taken the photograph?

24 Discussion Web Example:

25 StrategiesDuring: Say, Show, Mean Say (Summary of the text): The photograph was only shown for a brief time, and it angered many, as did other reminders of the tragedy of 9/11 Show: What does the summary show about the topic, author, society, etc.? The author wanted to show that he thought this mans jumping out of the tower was an act of will and that he is a symbol of war casualty. The picture is his cenotaph, and like the monuments dedicated to the memory of unknown soldiers everywhere, it asks that we look at it, and make one simple acknowledgment…That we have known who the Falling Man is all along. Mean: (Related to themethe overarching meaning. Man is capable of facing dire circumstances with resolve and courage.

26 StrategiesAfter: Connecting Reading and Writing Is the speaker (the author in this case) sincere or insincere? What evidence is there? Is the speaker intellectual or emotional. What evidence is there? Who was the intended audience? (Who reads Esquire Magazine?) What does this tell you about his point of view, prejudices, and values?

27 Remember the purpose To help students think deeply about literary non-fiction THANKS!!! Cyndie Shanahan


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