Do you have to 'drag' your students through To Kill a Mockingbird each year? Teaching this book is difficult because although English teachers appreciate the language and images, students just want to "get to the point". In the end they like the story but the journey is difficult. Also the reading abilities vary from English Language Learners through GATE students and often in the same classroom. Therefore I sat down and decided what the students really needed to know as they progressed through the story. That's how I came up with these questions. In addition, I wanted them to make their decisions based on the facts in the story. I asked for direct quotes from the book to support their answers. This proved a godsend when it was time to write essays. They already had the evidence. I also found that students could work independently in groups to come up with the answers because they really had to look for the quotes as support. There was a lot of discussion! They enjoyed that part. I suggest breaking your class into small groups, hand them a number of questions each day, and let them do their book discussion groups. It saves wear and tear on the teacher and helps focus the students on the material. Also the back-of-the-room students have to participate. I sometimes made it a competition to see which group came up with the best quotes.
I hope you find this as helpful as I did. I no longer dreaded dragging the students through the book.
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