Newbery Controversy in the Classroom

For the past few days my classes have been learning about the Newbery Award.  Yesterday we reviewed the history, terms, and criteria for the award.  It was a lot of fun, because my students really didn’t know a lot about the award.  But today I shared the latest controversy with them.  

Each group took an article (the Post article, the BYU study, one of my own blog posts, and Anita Silvey’s article) and read it together. Then they summarized the article for the class at large, sharing the argument and evidence that the article focused on.  It was so interesting to hear their take on the Newbery controversy.  Most of them thought the controversy was silly, though they did agree that forcing students to read Newbery winners just because they are Newbery winners was silly.  And both classes came to the consensus that forcing kids to read any books “just because an adult thinks kids need to read it” can turn them off to reading.  It was very interesting!

We ended the class with me sharing last year’s winners.  I booktalked them, and the read a few of the monologues from Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village out loud.  They went over really well!  Plus, I got to perform, which was too fun!

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3 Responses

  1. What a great way to engage them in thoughtful discussion. I am awed by the varied ways you give the kids opportunities to *use their voice* and think critically about their reading. Given your earlier post about them viewing reading as about books, do you think they make the connection about varied media with these articles?

    • I don’t think they made the connection about varied media with the article. But they did a great job!

  2. [...] the Reading Zone, Sara got her students engaged in the *adult* discussions about the Newbery. They read the recent commentary, wrote a summary, and then added their own thoughts.  A great way [...]

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