Those of you who have been to our reading workshops are up-to-date on “Embedded Non-fiction”—the idea of teaching non-fiction by combining it with a novel. Rather than reading de-contextualized articles to practice reading non-fiction—the Civil War today; the naked mole rat tomorrow—you’d choose topics that develop and add depth to topics raised by the novel you’re studying, thereby providing more background knowledge to assist in comprehending the novel and more context—especially emotional context—to understand the non-fiction.
I saw a great example of non-fiction embedding in Dave Javsicas’ class at Troy Prep today. His seventh graders were reading Lord of the Flies which is set, as you probably know, on a deserted tropical island after a plane full of a group of school boys crashes there. Today Dave read an article about tropical rainforests—lots of juicy scientific detail but also a great opportunity to ask “how do you think it felt to be living in a place like this in your woolen school uniform and after having lived all your life in England?”
Last year Dave used the final scenes from Of Mice and Men as a prompt to read an article about euthanasia—was it moral? legal? under what circumstances? How did that help make sense of the right or wrong in what George does to Lenny at the end?
Anyone else have any great embedding moments recently?