Gallager – Let Them Read Trash (rough notes)

Wilhelm: Let them read trash
Findings:  Motivation & Engagement

Depth Psychology and Archetypal Energies.

Do not assign harder texts.
How do you prepare them to be successful at the levels they should be reading at? You start where they are at.

What is most motivating is giving visible signs to students of them developing competence.  

Kids embrace reading when it helps them with TODAY.
Kids can conceived narratives as arguments such as Hunger Games.
“Common Core is completely procedural”
Kids saw games as narratives they were living through.
We control the conditions of the classroom.  When the kids are not motivated than what are we doing about it?
Oftentimes, violence in vidoe games and books is not valorized; it is often there to be critiqued.  

Is Hunger Games a marginalized text?

Possible Prompt for Students:  Think of something you really love to do (something you would rather be doing right now instead of being in class).
Describe what it is? What do you like about it/why do you like it?

  • Hunger Games EQ that the students came up with (this gives me the idea of having students create the essential questions at the beginning of the year).
  • Whose interest does the world work? How can we make the world more fair?
  • What is the power of an individual to affect change in the world? Larger world?
  • How can we survive? How can we fight injustice?
  • What is the effect of witnessing other people’s suffering?
  • How do we collude in and encourage violence? On you on youth violence?
  • When is it unjustifiable to revolt against established norms/rules?
What can we do?
  • Take the gaming and reading of marginalized texts more seriously
  • Help student process their reading and the gaming
  • tell them what we are worried about
  • Encourage conversation
  • books and games can be transitional objects (helping students transition from one stay to next)
  • Allow kids to do free reading
  • Reward free (give them points, etc.) reading but don’t grade it
  • Provide them opportunities for reading
  • 10,000 hours for expertise and 3000 hours for competence are needed 
  • Allow students to talk about the reading and connect it to themselves and the outside world
  • Model the kind of reader and person you want students to be (model critical thinking, interacting with the reading, build connections)
  • Sustained silent reading is great but teachers start to let go of the modeling part that should be including in that period
  • We can start each unit with children’s books before going into the primary text/content
  • Make a bookshelf that says (READ ONLY WITH PARENTAL PERMISSION – these are the books you want to read)
  • Chester Brown Graphic novels

Jay Maqsood
Special Education / Humanities 
University Neighborhood Middle School
220 Henry Street, Room 303
New York, NY 11756

Follow me on Twitter @MrMaxood
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