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The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  189 ratings  ·  18 reviews
In this groundbreaking book, Sheridan Blau introduces the literature workshop as the most effective approach to solving many of the classic instructional problems that perplex beginning and veteran teachers of literature. Through lively re-creations of actual workshops that he regularly conducts for students and teachers, Blau invites his readers to become active participa ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 10th 2003 by Heinemann Educational Books
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Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
So, stylistically I was turned off. I get that Blau is an academic and thus speaks and writes like one, but it doesn't necessarily make for a motivating read.

As far as to the purposes of the class I read this for, I'm not planning on teaching undergrads. While he talked about high school students, he seemed mostly to focus on advanced students in the discussions. I KNOW it can be applied to younger/less-experienced kids, but it was still rough.

But then he'd throw in these gems, these "Of course
Mar 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Sheridan Blau takes his readers through ways of approaching conversations about literature in the classroom (some even transcripts of actual classroom discussions). Touches on the origins of interpretation and how to deal with conflicting interpretations, "intellectual authority," meaningful writing about literature, metacognition in reading, and about all - encourages and enables students to take risks in the literature they read.
J. Alfred
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on teaching literature I've ever read (it doesn't have a lot of competition, but still). Blau writes with an ethos of expertise and yet a strong sense of vulnerability. His practical notes are excellent, and the deeper philosophies behind his teaching ideas are downright admirable. Everyone who teaches English or who hopes to should read this book.
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing

Great insight and a level-headed approach makes this one of the better "education" books I have read. I can't imagine not revisiting it in the future.
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Ouch. My brain hurts. I loved this book and have used it all semester to help students build confidence in forming their own analysis of literature.
Troy Zaher
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt my favorite book on pedagogical theory. There isn’t a single chapter in this that I didn’t feel like I took some powerful piece of knowledge from. If you’re an educator of Literature, this book (or those that reference it) is an absolute must read imo. It truly helped so much in forming my values as an educator of English, and about this field in general. Regardless of what career choices I end up making, this book was an excellent read for me.

Read for my Master’s class: Teaching
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pairs nicely with Pirie's Reshaping High School English. I need more of this kind of book.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read for class, summer 2017

I really enjoyed all of the activities and content included in this book.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Three stars for the dry, academic writing. Four plus for the content. Blau speaks wisdom for literature teachers like me.
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
p.46 To move ahead in the wrong direction is not progress. But to move backward in order to correct your course is.
p.75 Textual evidence itself is subject to interpretation.
p.142-3 I want to assert, in fact, that rereading is the most powerful strategy available to all readers for helping themselves read more profitably, especially when they are reading texts.

The work contains a treasure trove of lessons which can be implemented into the classroom. Poems are the focus of the text. Explication l
Mr. Brammer
Oct 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: English teachers thinking outside the box
Recommended to Mr. Brammer by: TRED 246
Ok, Ok. Most of the books I'm reading right now are for grad school, of limited interest to anyone who isn't an English teacher. This one, however, is a wider scope because Blau talks a lot about his the undergraduate literature courses he teaches, uses examples of specific poems and the discussion surrounding them, and seems generally more erudite than the average high school English teacher. He seems a little out of touch with the realities of the high school English classroom.
Sirpa Grierson
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was skeptical that this would not differ from the Elementary through middle school model called the literature circles approach, but after sitting through Sheridan Blau's session at NCTE I was hooked. It speaks to the work we do in secondary and college level English classrooms. An excellent book for discussing how we can read, retread, and use discussion to dig deeply into a text.
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
I liked the ideas in this book; however, this takes a more theoretical--instead of practical--approach. Blau advocates for students taking the lead in their learning and teachers supporting and extending students' learning.

I'd recommend this book if you are looking for ideas of how to teach poetry.
Luke Hawley
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you teach Lit, you need to read this book. Blau's ideas about what ought to be learned in a Lit class are refreshing and, at the same time, common sense. I can't rate the pedagogy of this book high enough.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A book every English teacher needs to read!
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great advice from a wonderful teacher!
This book provides realistic approaches to teaching literature to secondary students by dispelling some of the initial intimidation.
Burke Scarbrough
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: educationreading
I read it for the third time this year, and it remains about as level-headed an approach to reading and teaching literature as I've ever read.
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