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Top 10 Books About Teaching Literature

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Literature is an essential part of a balanced education, but how do you teach a student how to read a classic? How do you urge him or her to see the beauty in Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Dickens? These books offer ideas and specific instructions. Learn what other teachers have found that works in teaching literature in the classroom.

1) Teaching Literature

by Elaine Showalter. Blackwell. From the publisher: "'Teaching Literature' is an indispensable guidebook for all teachers of English and American literature in higher education. Drawing on 40 years of international teaching experience, author Elaine Showalter inspires instructors to make their classroom practice intellectually exciting..."
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2) Teaching Literature: A Companion

by Tanya Agathocleous (Editor), and Ann C. Dean (Editor). Palgrave. From the publisher: "Teaching Literature offers a practical guide to teaching literature, with accounts of how daily experiences in the classroom grow out of engagement with dynamic fields of study. By uniting the theoretical and the practical consideration of what it means to teach literature, this book widens the current conversation about pedagogy just beginning to take place in the field."
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3) Classics in the Classroom

by Carol Jago. Heinmann. From the publisher: "Reading the classics isn't easy. Students often balk at the difficult syntax, unfamiliar settings, and descriptive passages. Length alone keeps some books out of the curriculum. For a teacher to persist—sometimes coaxing, sometimes driving—requires an act of will. In Classics in the Classroom Carol Jago provides practical ideas for making these challenging texts come alive for contemporary students."
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4) With Rigor for All: Teaching the Classics to Contemporary Students

by Carol Jago, and James Strickland. Heinemann. From the publisher: "'With Rigor for All' also offers practical suggestions for overcoming the problems teachers face when teaching the classics: length, challenging vocabulary, complex syntax, alien times and settings, student disaffection. The book also deals with issues such as assessment and censorship, and offers many lists of suggested titles and a rich sampling of student writings in response to the classics."
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5) English Teacher's Survival Guide

by Mary Lou Brandvik. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers. From the publisher: "Included are 175 easy-to-use strategies, lessons, and checklists for effective classroom management, and over 50 reproducible samples that you can adopt immediately for planning, evaluation, or assignments. The 'Guide' helps you create a classroom that reflects the excitement for learning that every English teacher desires."
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6) Teaching Shakespeare

by Rex Gibson. Cambridge University Press. From the publisher: "Teaching Shakespeare is a major contribution to the knowledge and expertise of all teachers of Shakespeare in schools, colleges and institutions of higher education... Practical examples are given from the plays most frequently used in schools, but Rex Gibson shows that the principles apply equally to the less frequently studied plays, thereby extending the canon of school Shakespeare."
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7) Middle Ages in Literature for Youth

by Rebecca Barnhouse. Rowman & Littlefield. From the publisher: "Writers of both fiction and non-fiction have long been fascinated by the Middle Ages, and this guide summarizes and evaluates more than 500 picture books, novels, nonfiction, and reference books that have been written for readers in grades K - 12. It also offers professional resources for educators and suggestions for classroom activities."
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8) Thinking About Literature: New Ideas for High School Teachers

by Robert McMahon. Heinemann. From the publisher: "Robert McMahon has contributed something genuinely new to the teaching of classic literature in high school, a system of teaching English that achieves classroom control through engagement and interest in content."
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9) A Scream Goes Through the House: What Literature Teaches Us About Life

by Arnold Weinstein. Random House. From the publisher: "In the tradition of Harold Bloom and Jacques Barzun, Weinstein guides us through great works of art, to reveal how literature constitutes nothing less than a feast for the heart. Our encounter with literature and art can be a unique form of human connection, an entry into the storehouse of feeling."
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10) Teaching Stories

Robert Coles. Modern Library. From the publisher: "In this remarkable anthology, some of the world's greatest writers provide a master class on the transformative power of learning and literature."
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