Journal Report

Madolyn Duncan

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE (National Council for the
Teachers of English) Review, more commonly known as the ALAN Review is an
organization that aims to aid any who may have a special interest in adolescent
literature in communication, cooperation, and publication. ALAN was founded in
November of 1973, and is made up of authors, teachers, librarians, publishers and
students who have an interest in the genre of adolescent of young adult literature. This
organization holds annual meetings and also produces the scholarly journal The ALAN
Review. The association affiliated with, or rather the association that produces the
ALAN Review is the NCTE. The NCTE is an organization that supports English and
Language Arts teachers around the country, so it is easy to see the connection between
the ALAN and NCTE.
The current president of the ALAN Review is Jennifer Buehler of Saint Louis
University, and the editors are Wendy Glenn, an English professor at the University of
Connecticut; Ricki Ginsberg, a Ph. D. candidate at the University of Connecticut; and
Danielle King. The ALAN Review produces three issues of the journal a year, one every
Fall, Winter and Summer. There are typically three articles per issue, and most articles
average around five to seven pages long.
Because the ALAN Review focuses on adolescent literature, most of the articles
in the Review are about helping adolescents make connections between literature and
their own lives. Other common topics include helping students enjoy reading, using
literature to aid students in their individual searches for identity or in overcoming
adversity, censorship in literature, and connecting with students. The articles in this
journal ask questions like “How can reading help youth/young adults gain a sense of
identity,” “how does censorship affect literature,” and “how can educators help students
to make connections between their lives and literature?” The research methods and
kinds of evidence in these articles mostly come from personal experience.
Those who contribute to this journal cite instances where an experience or
multiple experiences backs their claim. Articles are organized in a basic fashion with an
abstract or introduction, the main body-which is usually separated into smaller
sections,-and a conclusion or final thoughts. Some articles include group discussion
questions, summaries of books that they referenced in the article, or activities for the
classroom. References to other scholars in the English field is limited, and when
someone else is mentioned it tends to be in a positive manner, where another’s work is
used to support the author’s claim. The importance of the work of each author is
usually established through the effect it will have on students. For example the article,
“Finding Hope and Resilience in Life’s Bright Places: Helping Adolescents Face Life’s
Challenges” by Barbara Ward, she subtly highlights the importance of her claim by
showing how it will benefit students to use literature to help adolescents overcome
difficult times.
From my study of the ALAN Review, I have found that a lot of “English issues,”
especially where education is involved, have to do with students/YA enjoying literature.
Those involved in the English Education field really try to focus using literature to better
the lives of their students through analysis, finding their own identity, or simply making
connections to their own lives.
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