Reading Challenging Texts

  • Title:Reading Challenging Texts: Layering Literacies through the Arts
  • Author:James S. Chisholm, Kathryn F. Whitmore
  • Publication Date:December 2017
  • Grade Level:5-12
  • ISBN:9781138058644
  • Publisher:NCTE

Bringing together arts-integrated approaches, literacy learning, and classroom-based research, this book explores ways upper elementary, middle, and high school teachers can engage their students physically, cognitively, and emotionally in deep reading of challenging texts.

With a focus on teaching about the Holocaust and Anne Frank’s diary—part of the U.S. middle school literary canon—the authors present the concept of layering literacies as an essential means for conceptualizing how seeing the text, being the text, and feeling the text invite adolescents to learn about difficult and uncomfortable literature and subjects in relation to their contemporary lives.

Offering a timely perspective on arts education advocacy, Chisholm and Whitmore demonstrate the vital need to teach through different modalities in order to strengthen students’ connections to literature, their schools, and communities. Accessible strategies are illustrated and resources are recommended for teachers to draw on as they design arts-based instruction for their students’ learning with challenging texts.

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