ENGL 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader

Instructor: Catherine Bailey Kyle Meeting Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:40 Location: Brown 4035 CRN: 12833 Office Hours: Thursdays, 11:45-1:45 Location: Sprau 810 Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Credits: 4 hours. This course satisfies General Education Area II: Humanities. Required Texts  Reading Children’s Literature: A Critical Introduction, Carrie Hintz and Eric L. Tribunella  Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery  A Maze Me, Naomi Shihab Nye  American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang  Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan  The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen: A New Translation from the Danish, Hans Christian Andersen  Un Lun Dun, China Miéville  Number the Stars, Lois Lowry  The Giver, Lois Lowry

“Most mothers wouldn’t make their daughters wear ugly fish shoes!” -- Kristi, Number the Stars

Catalogue Description An exploration of human and literary values in the best of children’s works for preadolescents. Emphasis is on critical sensitivity and techniques necessary for interpreting and evaluating works representative of the major forms of children’s literature for the older reader. Discussion will focus on narrative forms and on how the more experienced reader comes to prose and poetry. Novels will be explored both in terms of literary structure and content and in terms of what makes a piece of literature work for children. Genres such as historical fiction, realistic fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, and survival literature will be considered. Ever growing complexity in structure and content will be evaluated as they related to the child’s biological, psychological, and mental development, and in the context of cultural and historical change. How media influence literature will be explored as well as the changing population of child-readers and what that means for book production. Course Objectives  Develop an understanding of historical and theoretical approaches to young adult literature.  Hone skills and vocabulary specific to the study of young adult fiction, poetry, film, and imagery.  Analyze a variety of texts that engage diverse perspectives, both in terms of creators and characters.  Explore definitions, boundaries, purposes, and criticisms of young adult literature.  Support independent critical thinking by inviting the discussion of texts not covered in class. Course Requirements This course consists of 1000 points, made up of the following assignments: Assignment Reading Quizzes 220 Participation 130 Midterm Exam 240 Self-Selected Text Project 170 Final Exam 240 TOTAL 1000

Points Possible

Details about Assignments Reading Quizzes At the beginning of almost every class, we will have a brief reading quiz. These quizzes are designed to test your completion and comprehension of the day’s reading(s), so as long as you are reading carefully and paying attention to main ideas, characters, and plot points, you should do well on them. There will be a total of 22 quizzes, worth 10 points (1% of your total grade) each. Please note that quizzes are closed-book/closed-notes and cannot be made up. For this reason, it is imperative that you arrive on-time and attend class regularly. Participation In-class participation is a crucial part of this course. Each day, I will ask you to participate in a brief in-class activity (small group work, individual writing, and so on). Completion of these activities earns you 5 points per day. We have 26 meetings total, bringing the total for this category to 130 points, or 13% of your total grade. Midterm Exam The midterm exam will take place in class. Since it will cover major ideas that we will have discussed at length by Week 8, it will be open book/open note, asking you to synthesize and apply concepts to specific texts rather than recall detailed information from memory. In other words, I will not ask you to remember the color of a certain character’ s clothing, the year a given author was born, etc. The exam will consist of several short-answer questions, out of which you may pick two to answer. The exam cannot be made up, so please get in touch with me in advance if you cannot be present on the day it given. We will work to a solution together. Self-Selected Text Project In order to encourage independent critical thinking, I will ask you to select a book or film that is not covered in class and relate it to a specific concept we cover this semester. For example, you could look at representations of race in a Disney film or examine the ways in which a fantasy novel exemplifies or departs from traditions of the genre. More information will be supplied as the deadline for this assignment draws nearer. Final Exam The final exam will be take-home, open-book, and open-note. Like the midterm, it will test your ability to analyze texts in light of the theoretical terms and approaches we will have encountered over the semester. “We make plans for after school. I’m going Grade Scale to help him paint some A BA B CB C DC D E music.” 930-1000 860-929 800-859 750-799 700-749 650-699 600-649 0-599 -- Paul, Boy Meets Boy Technology Policy I do not permit the use of laptops, cell phones, or other distracting devices in class. We will often have a 5-10 minute break about halfway through each meeting, during which time you are welcome to use these devices. However, please refrain from using them while class is in session. I will not hesitate to reduce your Participation grade if I see you texting, tweeting, gaming, Facebooking, trying to win an X-Box on eBay, pulling up hilarious cat videos on YouTube, blogging about that awesome casserole you made last night, or engaging in any other social media driven off-topic activities. Be aware that this can often make the difference between a B and a BA, a BA and an A, etc. Attendance Policy The attendance policy is as follows: No penalty. Life happens! 1-2 absences Automatic deduction of 30 points (3% of total grade). 3-4 absences Automatic deduction of 60 points (6% of total grade). 5-6 absences Automatic deduction of 90 points (9% of total grade). 7 absences Automatic failure of the course. 8+ absences I enforce this policy strictly because if you miss more than seven sessions, I cannot tell WMU in good faith that you have truly “taken the class.” If you are experiencing a major crisis, please talk to me so we can discuss your options.

Tardiness/Early Departure Policy If you miss more than 30 minutes of class, either through tardiness at the beginning or early departure at the end, you will be counted as “Partially Absent” for the day. Two Partial Absences add up to one full absence. Resources The Writing Center The Writing Center is located in Ellsworth Hall (the building directly behind the Bernhard Center). It exists to help students communicate clearly and effectively in all of their written assignments, from short essays to longer term papers. Its consultants can also help you prepare for in-class exams by suggesting specific organization strategies and outlining techniques. Appointments are typically 50 minutes long, and all services are free. You can set up an appointment in advance using the “Jonas has not been chosen […] Center’s online scheduler. More information is available online at: Jonas has been selected.” www.wmich.edu/casp/writingcenter.

-- The Chief Elder, The Giver

The Library Waldo Library has a large YA section. You may find it useful in preparing for your Self-Selected Text Project.

WMU Policy on Academic Honesty You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the Undergraduate Catalog that pertains to Academic Honesty. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test. WMU Policy on Assistance for Students with Disabilities Western Michigan University provides academic assistance for Students with Disabilities, including the technical, academic, and emotional support necessary to achieve academic and personal success. Course related assistance and academic accommodations are provided to eligible students with documented disabilities. Services may include advocacy, reader services, interpreters, alternate exam administration, and note takers. Adaptive equipment is also available. The link for web information regarding services is http://www.dsrs.wmich.edu/. Students are also encouraged to contact one of the following offices:  Disabled Student Resources and Services (DSRS), 387-2116, serves students who have documented physical and psychiatric disabilities, as well as students with documented learning disabilities and related emotional issues.  The Office of Services for Students with Learning Disabilities (OSSLD), 387-4411, serves students who have documented learning disabilities and related emotional issues.  The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), 387-8880, acts affirmatively on behalf of qualified persons who have disability related compliance issues in accordance with Federal and State guidelines and regulations. WMU Policy on Academic Honesty You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the Undergraduate Catalog that pertains to Academic Honesty. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test. A Note about Course Content This course will deal with themes and subject matter that some may find challenging, including racism, the Holocaust, sexuality, gender fluidity, bullying, lethal injection, and more. If you are feeling triggered by a text, you are of course welcome to speak to me about it. Some of these texts have been chosen for their fame, others for their popularity, and others for the unique conversations they can inspire about young adult literature. Remember, you certainly do not have to enjoy all of the assigned readings, but I do expect you to bring your intellect and inquiry to our conversations about them.

As always, treat your classmates’ ideas with courtesy. General Advice  This is a reading-heavy course. Manage your time wisely, especially when it comes to chapters from Hintz and Tribunella. Just because the chapters are short doesn’t mean they’re simple.  This is also a class that stresses attendance and participation. Be on time, get to know your neighbors, and come prepared to talk about the day’s assigned reading. The more specific you can be in your questions and observations, the better. To this end, you may wish to pick out certain passages or paragraphs to discuss.  Remember that the study of literature is not about “solving the riddles” of books; it’s more about creating meaningful dialogue that expands our understanding of certain texts and the complex questions they raise. If you leave this class with more questions than answers about a text, that is okay. Training your mind to ask insightful questions is a huge part of critical thinking. (Hopefully you’ll gain some answers as well, though!)  I want you to succeed. Please allow 24 hours for an email response, but know that I am here to answer any questions you may have about the course. Also, feel free to come and chat with me during office hours.

“Words will befriend you.” -- Naomi Shihab Nye, A Maze Me

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