Tips on HOW to make literature INTERESTING to students
One of the challenges that English teachers face is making literature interesting for their students. Often the material is old, as in Shakespeare, or it is confusing, as in Whitman. There are ways to teach literature without your students falling asleep at their desks. Here are a few tips to waking them up.
- Bring literature to life. Have the students perform the story they are reading. Assign each student a role to play. They must study that character carefully. This activity engages the student in the material, which is essential in holding their interest.
Have the students create artwork. They can draw maps, paint scenes, make a character collage, build a story website or build a model of a setting in the literature. Again, the key is to have them connect to the material.
Play games. There are plenty of games you can adapt to the literature text you are studying. You can adapt Jeopardy, hangman, Wheel of Fortune or just about any other game show you have seen on TV. Another great idea is to have the students themselves create a game that fits the text you are studying.
Assign the students to be Teacher for the Day. Put the students in groups, and assign each group a section of the literature being studied. The group will be responsible for teaching the class the assigned section.
Write it out. Assign each student a character from the book and have them write letters to the author, discussing the story. They can ask the author questions and comment on the story. Another way to have them write about the story is to keep an online blog that discusses the literature they study throughout the school year.
Laugh a lot. Nothing makes literature more boring than a teacher who reads the material in a monotone. Much of literature is very amusing, and you should encourage the students to laugh with the author.
Participate in the above activities! Students love it when their teacher joins in.
Ask the principal if you can display the students’ artwork in the hallway or library, or if your students can perform their play in during an assembly.