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Teachers are always looking for ways to connect the literature we read in class with the world at large. This activity does just that. The racial themes in To Kill a Mockingbird bring up questions in class. Noah Berlatsky points out that “racism isn’t necessarily always a conscious choice”. The article paired with this activity introduces a possible strategy to combat the racism that is still so present in today’s society.
For this extension activity students will read and analyze Noah Berlatsky’s The Answer to Implicit Racism Might Be in Children’s Literature. They will complete a series of seven activities:
Activity 1: Getting Ready to Read
QuickWrites give students the opportunity to begin building schema so that they are ready for new information.
Activity 2: Understanding Key Concepts
Exploring key concepts provides an entry point for the conversation about the issues raised by the article.
Activity 3: Surveying the Text
Surveying the text gives an overview of what the reading selection is about and how it is organized and presented. Surveying also helps readers create a context for making predictions and generating questions to guide their ongoing reading.
Activity 4: Making Predictions & Asking Questions
Predicting and asking questions help students engage their knowledge and experience prior to reading, set purposes for reading, and anchor their thinking in the text. In helping students make predictions, draw their attention to features of the text relevant to the particular genre and rhetorical situation, and ask students to think about the character and identity of the writer, the nature of the audience, and the purpose of the writing. Students can become more aware of how they form predictions by providing evidence from the text they have surveyed.
Activity 5: Summarizing & Responding
Summarizing is a powerful metacognitive skill that enables readers and writers to synthesize a text’s meaning. Responding gives students the opportunity to articulate their personal reactions to the text.
Activity 6: Thinking Critically
In thinking critically students move beyond initial reactions toward deeper evaluations of texts by questioning and analyzing the rhetorical choices of the author.
• Questions about Logic (Logos)
• Questions about the Writer (Ethos)
• Questions about Emotions (Pathos)
Activity 7: Reflecting on your Reading Process
Reflection is an essential component in learning. Reflect on your own reading process. Consolidate what you have learned about being a thoughtful and active reader.
Text: The Answer to Implicit Racism Might Be in Children’s Literature
Could diverse protagonists reduce racial anxiety?
NOAH BERLATSKY • December 02, 2014
Berlatsky, Noah. "The Answer to Implicit Racism Might Be in Children’s Literature." Pacific Standard. Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy, 2 Dec. 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2015. .