Much has been debated about the accuracy and truth of Jeanette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle. While students engage quickly with her narrative, it is a priority of mine while teaching to make sure students are checking in with themselves to test the author's voice, her credibility, and make sure they aren't taking every word of her story as absolute truth.
To make this idea more practical and tie it into a rigorous writing assignment, I have students select from one of three critical articles about the book (NY Times, Publisher's Weekly, and Today.com) to summarize.
The overall assignment is around two typed pages: one page of article summary, and one page of analysis to see whether the article's author was successful.
Not only does this prepare students for academic writing and critical thinking, it allows them to scrutinize an author's work on a smaller scale than a full novel.
This assignment can be given alongside the novel study or as a stand alone assignment. I have included links to the articles in the assignment sheet as well as printable copies of each.
In all this resource is an 11 page download. Two pages are an assignment sheet detailing the specifics of the essay requirements; three pages are a holistic rubric for scoring the essays with three levels of performance ("superior," "good," and "needs help"); finally the three articles make up the remaining 6 pages.
There are no distinguishing marks on any of the pages that denote my name or course. You may use your own grading scale and particulars for final drafting and publishing requirements of the assignment.