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Literature Circles as a Teaching Methodology in University Health Education Lynn Hunt Long, Ed.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Literature Circles as a Teaching Methodology in University Health Education Lynn Hunt Long, Ed.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literature Circles as a Teaching Methodology in University Health Education Lynn Hunt Long, Ed.D.

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3 Literature Circles/ Book Clubs * Instructional strategy based on the principles of cooperative learning, independent reading, and group discussion (Chase and Pheifer). * Small, temporary discussion groups who have chosen to read the same text, with each preparing to take specific responsibilities in an upcoming discussion (Daniels).

4 Goals Of This Project * For students to learn about a variety of health issues through young adult (YA) novels, supplemented with additional research * To introduce pre-service teachers to the advantages of incorporating book clubs or literature circles across the curriculum, in all content areas, even health education class

5 Advantages to Literature Circles * Are social as are adolescents * Train students in collaborative work and listening and speaking skills * Promote leadership skills by being student-led; the teacher serves only as a facilitator and observer, not a leader or club member * Members provide support and motivation for each other leading students to read more complex text; group discussions lead to deeper understanding

6 Advantages to Literature Circles, cont’d * Differentiation - the teacher can offer books at various reading and interest levels so that students can choose books that they can read and comprehend and on topics in which they are interested * Multiple genres can be read, such as fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, verse novels, or multiple topics/titles within a genre

7 Within health education, traditional illnesses such as cancer and diabetes, and behavior- related issues such as substance abuse, eating disorders, sexually transmitted infections, depression, and gun-related violence have become interrelated through the multitude of physical, social, and emotional changes adolescents are experiencing (Bowman).

8 Current Health Issues Class * 29 students * No experience with literature circles at the university level; two students reported experience in a high school literature class * Novels and memoirs were pre-selected; instructor book-talked the choices * Students read the back cover synopses and a few passages to note writing style * Students recorded their top three preferences * Groups were formed based on preferences and intent of creating heterogeneous groups

9 Book Choices Anderson, L.H. (2009). Wintergirls. [body image; eating disorder] Anonymous. (2005). Go ask Alice. [drug addiction] Deuker, C. (2007). Gym candy. [male teen steroid use] Efaw, A. (2009). After. [teen pregnancy] Friend, N. (2004). Perfect: A novel. [body image; eating disorder] Gottlieb, L. (2001). Stick figure: A diary of my former self. [body image; eating disorder] Korman, G. (2009). Pop. [sports concussion]

10 Book Choices, cont’d Mackel, K. (2008 ). Boost. [female teen steroid use] Sonnenblick, J. (2006 ). Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie. [family illness] Sparks, B., ed. (1998). Annie’s Baby: The Diary of Anonymous, a Pregnant Teenager.[teen pregnancy] Trueman, T. (2000). Stuck in Neutral. [developmental disabilities] Trueman, T. (2005). Cruise Control. [developmental disabilities] Wheatley, S. (2006). ‘Til the Fat Girl Sings: From an Overweight Nobody to a Broadway Somebody – A Memoir. [body image]

11 Meetings First meeting: *Introductions *Mapping of their reading schedule for the next three weeks *Distribution of journaling pages *Instructions for completing the response journals Book club members met once a week for approximately 30 minutes over 3-4 weeks to discuss the chapters that were read during the previous weeks.

12 Response Journals Page 1 - KWL chart: *What I know… *What I want/need to know… *What I have learned… Page 2 – Double-entry or dialectical journal: *Column 1 – What happened in the book… The Main Character’s Traits (physical/ personality) Problems/Issues Characters Face Causes of the Problems Ways the Characters Deal with the Problems *Column 2 – What am I thinking about that…

13 Response Journals Journals were to be completed as students read their novels, allowing them to: *Record textual evidence *Record their responses to and reflections on text, plot, setting, and characterizations demonstrating to the other book club members and the instructor what the student thought was important *Provide discussion points to share with the group

14 Research Following the readings, groups were required to research the health issue that was addressed in their literature circle – *Definition/description *Symptoms and effects *Recommendations for prevention and/or treatment *Current research being conducted on the issue *Current statistics *Considerations for teachers of students experiencing this issue

15 Research Writing and Presentation *Develop an annotated bibliography of references including: one book, three journal articles, two websites *Read and complete written reflection upon a selected publication from a peer-reviewed journal *Present health issue research and adolescent literature summary to class – documentary or mocumentary, info-commercial, posters, talk show, skit, combination of methods

16 Outcomes Students reported the reading, journaling, and authentic discussions: * Encouraged them to critically consider and research health issues * Provided a better understanding of the issue * Provided an insight as to the subject matter appropriate for adolescent learning * Provided the perspective of how a young adult may view/deal with an issue as opposed to an adult, the perspective presented in many texts and articles * Broke the norm of solely conducting research and provided a fresh take on investigating an issue

17 Outcomes, Cont’d Students reported the reading, journaling, and authentic discussions: * Brought greater realism to the issue, a personal perspective and story over research on facts/data/ statistics * Increased empathy * Opened the opportunity to share and discuss personal interpretations and experiences, gaining difference points of view which reportedly improved comprehension and learning * Promoted collaboration, teamwork, and communication skills

18 Outcomes, Cont’d Students reported the response journals helped them to: * Record key concepts, organize personal thoughts, give a better understanding of the issue and experience, and increase accountability to the group * Keep the discussions on track and enhanced the discussions

19 Students’ responses to the methodology were positive, reporting this was a dynamic approach to the study of health education issues.

20 Engaging in accountable talk, group discussion, paraphrasing, and summarizing help students develop their critical thinking skills. These discussions help students reframe their thinking and increase their understanding through constructive exchanges as a single group. This interaction can also further students’ understanding of subject matter through facilitated discussion which increases their potential for improved written and artistic responses (Nigro, 2011).

21 Through participation, majors involved in this project learned: * The advantages of implementing literature circles in the classroom, i.e., student engagement and motivation, collaboration, peer support, and development of social skills * To utilize Young Adult literature to study and add personal dimension to issues and to supplement the textbook, provide differentiation of reading levels, and raise interest and awareness in health issues

22 Through participation, majors involved in this project learned (cont’d): * The possibility of increasing reading comprehension through the use of journaling and text reformulation (post- reading class presentations) (Roessing, 2009) * To teach students to conduct supplementary research that is purposeful for an audience

23 Works Cited Bowman, C.A. (2000). Using literature to help troubled teenagers cope with health issues. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. Chase, P., & Pheifer, D. (n.d.). Summary of literature circles research. Retrieved June 28, 2011, from Daniels, H. (1994). Literature circles: Voice and choice in the student-centered classroom. York, ME: Stenhouse. Daniels, H. (2002). Literature circles: Voice and choice in book clubs and reading groups. Portland, ME: Stenhouse. Nigro, N. (2011, January 20). Using literature circles to engage students. United Federation of Teachers. Retrieved May 24, 2011, from Roessing, L. (2012). No more “us” and “them”: Classroom lessons & activities to promote peer respect. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education. Roessing, L. (2009). The write to read: Response journals that increase comprehension. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

24 Contact Information Lynn Hunt Long, Ed.D.


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