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Whole Novels Method Can Unite Readers at Varying Levels

Whole Novels Method Can Unite Readers at Varying Levels

When it comes to teaching novels, teachers often have to continually readjust their teaching strategies as some students may not read at the same pace as the other students. During class, instructors often have to worry about issues as small as "spoilers" to concerns as large as students being completely left behind. If you are a teacher experiencing the challenges of teaching a novel to the whole classroom, there may be a method to use that will improve your day-to-day teaching and curriculum planning.

The “whole novels method” allows students to “read an entire novel at their own pace, in a community of their peers, and discuss it when they have completed the reading,” according to an article by Ariel Sacks on

Sacks compares this method to binge-watching shows on Netflix and said the whole novels method “gives students the freedom to read as quickly as they want.”

“We have a diversity of readers in the classroom--some slowly digest each chapter with different levels of classroom support, and others will plow through it in two days, then reread for a deeper experience, before moving on to other related texts,” she said.

According to Sacks, putting limits on students’ opportunities to read through an entire book “can really take the life out of the story.”

“It creates a disjointed experience that misses out on the thrust and enjoyment of authentic reading,” she said. “In the whole novels method, we protect the reading process, allowing it to be subjective, and customizing support to the needs of individual readers. Then we come together as a class on the appointed due date, when all have finished the book, to discuss and debate the entire work. We conduct close reading of key sections students identify, in light of what we understand and still wonder about the whole work.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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