Teacher uses “Twilight” to teach the classics!

This is an article that makes all of us here at Novel Novice uber-excited … a teacher using Twilight to get students excited about other books! Check out this article from the Columbus Local News:

Vampires and other creatures of the night are slinking through middle school classrooms in Worthington as students devour the popular Twilight series to learn classic themes and a lifetime love of reading.

Worthingway Middle School English teacher Jen Baker admits she’s “hooked” on the young adult series by Stephenie Meyer, populated by young and earnest vampires. Baker is using the series and other popular young adult books to hook students on reading and to teach classic themes in literature.

“Using young adult lit gives students a window into other literature,” she said.

Baker compares Twilight to the classic Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

“The text of Wuthering Heights is extremely dense and even I struggled to get through it in college,” she said. “But once students see that Jacob in Twilight is Heathcliff and Bella is Catherine, and Edward is a combination of Edgar and Heathcliff, suddenly the story makes more sense because they can apply what they already know about the Bella-Jacob-Edward triangle to Catherine, Heathcliff and Edgar.”

Baker and two other English teachers — Brandi Young, from Newark High School and Ashley Aldrich from Eastern High School — presented “Vampires and Classic Literature: Using Popular Young Adult Novels to Teach the Classics” at the National Council of Teachers of English conference last month.

“The three of us went to college together at Ohio University,” Baker said. “After we graduated, we noticed that students in our classrooms loved to talk about the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer.

“Once students found out we were avid fans, they were suddenly staying after class to ask questions about themes and symbols and character development — all skills we were trying to teach in the classroom,” she said. “But kids weren’t interested in the classic works we were reading; they always said they couldn’t relate to those books because they were old, or the vocabulary was too difficult.”

Baker said she and her fellow teachers thought teaching classic literature would be easier if the curriculum included popular books like those in the Twilight series.

“The fact that Stephenie Meyer was a lit major in college and consciously shaped her books around classic literature strengthened the idea because identifying universal themes would help kids understand the more difficult classic works,” she said.

Read more HERE.

Thanks to the Lex for tracking this one down!

Are you a teacher using Twilight in the classroom? We’d love to feature you and your students on Novel Novice Twilight! E-mail sara.novelnovice@comcast.net (Students, you can e-mail us your academic work using Twilight, too!)

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