ENVISIONING YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE : A STUDY ON TEACHING ENVISIONMENT IN THE ESL-CLASSROOM
Abstract: This essay is based on Judith A. Langer’s many years of literacy research and her concepts of ‘the literate mind’ and ‘envisionment building’ in the classroom. In addition to Langer’s theories, I consider several other strategies for reading, some of which have evolved from Langer’s ideas and are adapted to fit the teaching of English for Swedish upper secondary school. Furthermore, I discuss the benefits of teaching a foreign language with the help of literature in general and Young Adult (YA) literature in particular. Working with YA literature in the classroom can not only help students develop a greater empathy towards others, but is also well suited for teaching reading strategies to teenagers. In the analysis, I demonstrate a didactic approach with the help of extracts from Ruta Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray (2011). My findings indicate that reading Young Adult literature can benefit teenagers’ personal growth as well as their language learning and general knowledge. Lastly, I assert that envisionment building can both lead to reevaluation of the readers themselves as well as to a greater understanding of different texts and the readers’ perception of the historical and contemporary world.
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