EDUC 567 Children's Lit discussion

The Giver > The Giver Reflection

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message 1: by Brianne (new)

Brianne Hough | 12 comments After revisiting The Giver, I realized the depth of the story so much more than I did when I read it in middle school. There are themes that can affect every age. Especially after our class discussion, I feel that implementing The Giver into the curriculum of several different grades could be beneficial. With time, the book takes on many different meanings, and you understand many different qualities of Jonas’ journey. The book can be mature or elementary, depending on the reader. Personally, I love this story because it merits individualism, a quality I think that every person and student should appreciate and celebrate. The book is such a versatile teaching tool—a great addition to any teacher’s library or any child’s personal collection.

message 2: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 12 comments I'm a little confused and not sure if this is the correct thing to be doing but here goes. I just posted a reflection in the review this book section which I guess was not right so I'll try to repeat what I said earlier. I was not in love with this book but at the same time I did not hate it either. It definitely kept me engaged, especially as the story progressed and I had to stop and think about parts of the story that were presented earlier after new light (or rather color) was shed on them. I think the underlying theme of individualism is a key concept for students of any age but the tone and ideas presented in the book I think are probably best suited for students in middle school rather than later elementary. The last few chapters had my heart rate elevated and I could feel myself getting warmer as Jonas and Gabe were getting colder. The up-in-the-air ending did not easily relive my tension. I do like the idea of teaching this book and having students write their own endings.

message 3: by Carly (new)

Carly Elliott | 9 comments I'm doing this on here too, I hope it's right!

I have read The Giver a few times before this and every time I have gotten more from the story. I could not agree more that it is hard to determine which grade it is most appropriate to read during. I strongly feel reading the novel at some point in middle school is extremely important as the theme of individualism is so important during Middle School. The subtle commentary on governmental structures could so be used in an accelerated or high school level class. I enjoyed the ambiguous ending and the way it is left up for interpretation. This could be used for class discussion, reflections and the opportunity to write a complete ending. The different grade levels it appeals to work well for classes with students that have different reading levels. Overall I think The Giver is an amazing book for upper elementary and middle school level reading.

message 4: by Macon (new)

Macon (macont) | 11 comments After having reread The Giver for a second time, I completely agree that this book can take on different meanings for people depending on their current stage of life. While reading it first in middle school may cause the reader to miss some of the deeper thematic elements, as some people have already mentioned, I feel like most middle school aged children would finish the book with a greater sense of individualism. On the other hand, some students could finish the book and not be able to get past the process of “release” of citizens, which was the case for me, or be caught up in the vague ending. (When I read this in middle school, we actually were assigned to all write our “own” ending). Personally, I think this book could be revisited again in high school English classes, like AP Literature, and result in richer, deeper discussions. For example, when Jonas says, “It seems to work pretty well that way, doesn’t it? The way we do it in our community? (p.125), middle school children might not understand the implications related to government that high school students could discuss in greater depth. For the most part, I enjoyed reading The Giver and think that beginning around the time of middle school most students would be able to take away something from this book.

message 5: by Erika (new)

Erika Kiser | 12 comments After the in class discussion of The Giver, I think that the book is one that can be understood differently and more clearly each time it is read. This was my first experience with the book, but I feel like it would be difficult for younger people to understand the book to the same capacity as I did. However, I do believe that elementary and middle school children could appreciate the book and derive significant meaning that is relevant to their lives. After the discussion I was also able to better understand the emotions the reader encounters as he or she is reading the book. While reading, the reader becomes familiar with the rules of society and how everything systematically works in the community. But towards the end of the book the reader becomes uneasy as he or she discovers that everything believed to be true (such as release of the Old and newchildren) is really not as it seems. Lois Lowry creates this type of emotion so that the reader relates to the feelings of Jonas as he finds out the truth about the his father's job as a nurturer and the community's hidden memories. I think this is a great book which should be read at least twice during school so that more meaning can be taken away.

message 6: by Raven (new)

Raven Tate | 10 comments So after reading The Giver for a second time, I was also able to pick up on things that I hadn't noticed the first time that I read the book. I agree with the group in saying that your age depends on the messages that you take away. I do feel that this book is more so on a upper middle school reading level rather than late elementary.
The thing that stood out to me the most from this book, was the fact that Jonas was so willing to leave his home, family, and friends behind in search for a different life. Being so young, I felt he possessed a lot of bravery and courage to step out on his own! I know that the situations were different as far as how things are done in our society and how they were done in his, but I don't think that I would have that much strength at the age of 12 going on 13 to take such a dramatic step.
Overall, I enjoyed rereading the book and took away a lot from our class discussion today!

message 7: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Sexton | 8 comments This was also my second time reading The Giver and I think that I enjoyed it more this time around. My favorite thing about this book is that it can take on different meanings for different people and different ages, which I think is great. Reading it now versus when I read The Giver in the fourth grade, I was also to understand the characters and messages more. The strength that Jonas showed in the end stuck out to me because that is probably one of my favorite messages about life anyway; you have an underlying strength in you and when necessary you can call upon that strength like Jonas did. You are a lot stronger and braver than you think and I think Jonas demonstrated this well and what a great message to convey to young readers. The discussion today in class also added to my understanding of the book and introduced me to different aspects that I had not noticed when reading, so that was great to be able to take more away from The Giver just from the discussion in class. I think this book is great for young students to read and I also think that it should be revisited again at an older age like high school because there are more advanced messages that can be taken away form this book.

message 8: by Jordan (new)

Jordan Koonce | 3 comments This was the first time I had read The Giver since 6th grade and I really enjoyed it! However, the feelings I got from it this time were more extreme then when I read it when I was younger. I felt really gloomy every time I read it this time because I was very sad for the characters that had to live in that boring, controlling society. To me it confirmed how much I value, and take for granted, the freedom I have in this country. I cannot imagine living like Jonas did. I think that is an important message for American students to understand, and think it would be awesome for kids to read it once at a younger age and then again once theyre old enough to comprehend more!

message 9: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 11 comments Like almost everyone else, I gained a much richer understanding of the book this time compared to when I read it in the 8th grade. There are so many concepts that young children don't have the capacity to understand, but at the same time, there are so many components that they will understand and appreciate! I feel strongly that this book is suited to young adults in the 7th and/or 8th grade. The theme of individualism is pertinent at this stage of a person's life, and this book encourages exploration of that idea. I think that books such as The Giver (and 1984 and Brave New World) lend themselves to interesting discussion, which might stimulate a passion for reading among young adults. It's always fun (at least for me!) to imagine hypothetical situations and put myself in someone else's shoes.

message 10: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 11 comments Reading The Giver again was a fascinating experience. I loved this book more than when I had read it in the fifth grade, partly because I had my fifth-grade understanding of the book to compare to my new understanding. Because of this I think that The Giver should be read at different intervals of a student’s schooling. Each time they read it, they will recognize things that they overlooked before, and will then have a deeper, layered understanding of the novel’s complex messages. The book takes on new forms after you’ve learned about government, history, and human behavior. And that is the sign of a great novel—one that changes each time you read it, and is just as relevant when you’re in fifth grade as when you’re fifty.

message 11: by Megan (new)

Megan Barker (megbarke) | 10 comments I had read The Giver in sixth grade, and rereading it, I found to be very beneficial because I understood the theme and motifs of the story so much more than before. I feel like it is hard for fifth and sixth graders to grasp some of the ideas in the text, but exposing them, nonetheless to the story is a good idea, I think, especially if they decide to go back in a few years and reread it; they will find a new appreciation for it. For some reason, reading it this time around, it reminded me of Brave New World, perhaps because the story is a bit more advanced and has a 'futuristic' feel to it. With the very present communistic vibe this novel presents, I became even more aware of the blessings we all have living in this country. I agree with Jordan that this is an important message for American students! In a few years, I will pick up the novel again and reread it, and I think that when I do I will pick up on different/new components. That in and of itself makes a great book.

message 12: by Mary (new)

Mary Kathryn | 12 comments I read The Giver in middle school, and I loved it then. After reading it again, I realized that there was a lot of information that I missed in my first read of the book. However, I still loved the book on the second read. I really like how it takes complex concepts that middle aged children might not understand, but presents them in a way that they can begin to comprehend. Although a middle schooler may not fully understand what communism is, this book could be a good segway into governmental issues. I think that the theme of individualism in a society that is based on sameness is an important idea for a young adult to understand and grasp. During middle school when many are going through their awkward stages, this idea can turn out to be very comforting. I also like the idea that this novel should make us all proud to live in a society that values individuality. Overall, I think it is a great book, and I will no doubt read it again in the future.

message 13: by Beimnet (new)

Beimnet Reading The Giver this time around was so much better than the time I read it in elementary school. I'm actually surprised I even knew what was going on then. I thought it was interesting, but I wouldn't read it again. That's not to say that I wouldn't teach the book to a small, mature group of students that were at least in the 7th grade. They also would have had to learn something about different types of government beforehand. I thought the author did a really good job of showing why having the freedom to choose is important, and how when something is happening that we feel is wrong, it's up to us to try and stop it (in a peaceful way). Sometimes though, the story neglected to tell you why certain things were the way they were, or how they happened to be that way. In a way though, that is good because the lack of specificness makes it apply to any group of people. I learned a lot reading it this time, and I was happy that everyone else liked it so much because it showed me how it could be useful as a teaching tool.

message 14: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 10 comments I never read The Giver in grade school, although I recall my younger brother reading it in about the 6th grade. Back then he read mainly for completion and not comprehension (which may be something we could bring up during discussion next class) but nonetheless I remember him telling me that the characters in the book were boring because they weren't allowed to have "fun." Going into the book I was a bit apprehensive, not because of my brother’s 6th grade critique, but because of the cover. Despite the award winning seal I found the cover uninviting and unfriendly. I mean, who wants to read a book with a creepy old man on the front? Certainly not me, which is why I never picked the book up, even though there are several copes in my house. Once I got into the book I began to feel sorry for Jonas and all the people of the community who had been, in my opinion, brain washed. I could see a young middle grader reading this book and instantly relating to certain aspects of the book like the age ceremonies and how turning a year older is exciting and comes with special privileges. I could also see aspects like "the release" causing some distress or confusion, especially for kids who have not experienced death in their lives or who have no completely grasped the concept. The main element within the novel which concerned me was how young children might perceive the "stirrings” and that as a teacher I would have to be prepared to discuss and answer and questions that formulated from this topic. Overall I really enjoyed reading The Giver, although I would definitely reserve this book for a more mature, upper middle grades or advanced readers audience.

message 15: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (lecase) | 6 comments So I had forgotten really how much I enjoyed this novel, simply because I think when I read it in middle school it was really the first strange novel that we touched on. Sure, we read fantasy or really abstract novels that were just fun in my naive opinion, but the Giver was one that I could almost picture happening in our society. I think that's something to note when leading discussions with a class on this book, though I think it also lends to the general age that this book should be introduced to. Middle school is definitely the earliest I would present this novel to kids, because the focus on individuality is something that really comes up in middle school as an issue that kids struggle to overcome. Also, before middle school, I don't think that readers really have the capacity to grasp what Lowry is trying to do with this book, or cope with the ending, as we discussed in class. Either way, it was fun to revisit such a classic and awesome book!

message 16: by Brianna (new)

Brianna | 10 comments I read this novel around seventh grade, and I remember it really shocking me. I had read other books by Lois Lowry, and I didn't expect the story to have such a negative tone. I remember finishing the book and not having a clue how to react to what happened in the story. Reading the book now with a more adult mindset, I feel like I gained much more from the story. I was able to connect the events in the story to situations occurring in real life. When I read The Giver the first time, I thought the plot line was unrealistic and far-fetched. This book definitely reaches readers of different ages, but I think that elementary school students are too young to fully appreciate this book. Even though 4th and 5th graders may comprehend the words on the page, The Giver includes adult themes that are likely to be too complex for the minds of elementary-level students.

message 17: by Deanna (new)

Deanna | 12 comments This was the first time I have ever read The Giver, and I had no idea what to expect going in. The friends I asked could only remember parts of the complex story, but all agreed that it was a great book. I was apprehensive at first despite their positive reviews and reflections. However, as soon as I started reading I wanted to know more, to continue following Jonas so I could try to comprehend how everyone dealt with living in such an environment. Almost instantly I became attached to the young boy with no choices who seemed to be brainwashed by this complex, yet at the same time overly simplistic society of "Sameness." Many things seemed so strange to me and I felt frustrated at times that the people did not question this lifestyle, and it took time to accept that they would not question it or seek change when it was the only thing they knew. A world without color, without love, without music or fun seemed a world not living in. However, I wanted to know more about their world to see if Jonas could make a different in ways The Giver might not have been able to but had himself wondered about. As I read I realized that I feel this book would be best suited for Middle School aged students. Like we addressed in class, it has valuable ideas of individualism and addresses adult issues that I feel would be lost on the comprehension of most Elementary students. That is not to say that I do not feel like both age groups could enjoy the book or get attached to the characters, because I think anyone has the potential to enjoy the story and the characters. By the end I just wanted Jonas to succeed in getting away to enjoy life without constraints where the things in the memories could be real to him. The open ended ending to the book provides excellent opportunities for discussion as students can choose how to perceive what happened to Jonas and Gabriel. Overall, I enjoyed the book and feel like there are many different important topics that it addresses and many chances to hold discussion with students, while still being an easy and engaging read.

message 18: by Pauline (new)

Pauline | 9 comments This was my second time reading The Giver, although I'm pretty sure the first time I read it I never actually finished it...this was a habit of mine when reading books in elementary and middle school. The only thing I really remember reading it the first time is that I thought it was boring and I didn't understand it. Reading it again, many years later, I see it as a novel working as a commentary on maybe the direction that Lois Lowry saw society headed. I saw it as a huge proponent of individualism. And, after our class discussion, I now see it as a huge promoter of education. The characters in The Giver were denied access to emotions, to colors, to experiences which we, in a world without "Sameness" (thank goodness), use to personally grow. They were denied access to information, only have three books in their homes and only really ever learning about rules to help maintain their stagnate states of being. Thus, Lowry seemed to be making the argument that being denied information or education leads to being denied choice. As Jonas gained more knowledge from his memories, he started making choices of his own- he stopped taking the pill, started lying to his parents. Overall, I really liked this message and enjoyed the book. My only complaint would be the ending, which, for me, was just too tidly crafted. I saw it as him reaching this other community, one without sameness. This was just a little too convenient for me. While I liked her tying together his Christmas memories and his sled memories and having him arrive at what he sought, it seemed a little unlikely. However, a lot of the things in this novel were a little unlikely, and I guess I just need to read it with suspended disbelief.

message 19: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 11 comments I thoroughly enjoyed rereading this book. The last time I read this book I was in 5th grade and it was one of my favorites. But reading it now I saw a lot more themes and details that I didn't even realize existed in the book the first time I read it. I still definitely think it is a good book for children to reading starting around 5th grade but I also think that it would be beneficial for high school students to study and read more in depth. I also think that the book has a lot to say about society and government and could lead to a more in depth project or research in a high school english class. I think that Lowry definitely wanted to make a statement about individualism, and made that point by the lack of individualism in the community. Everyone is the same, "sameness", and has no idea about color or music or emotions. It seems like a communistic society, however no one realizes the lack of freedom they truly have. I think the book is very intelligent and isn't too difficult to read. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to anyone, whether it be just to read for fun or to bring into the classroom.

message 20: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 13 comments This was my second time reading The Giver. I had read it in seventh grade, but could not remember anything about it other that I remembered it be an outstanding book at the time. However, I did not understand or realize all of the themes throughout the book and I sure didn't think to relate or compare it to my life at the time. I think I read it more as a story the first time and did not think about it being real life. However, this time after reading it, I was amazed with each chapter, the various rules that Jonas and other community members had to abide by, and the type of government that controlled this society. My heart sank when I realized what these people were missing, things we take for granted each day. These people had never seen in color, they had never heard music of any kind, they did not feel pain, and most important, they did not feel love. While feeling pain is not appealing at the time, it allows each of us to continue to grow in ways that we cannot imagine. Without pain, we would live a life like Jonas where things remained the same and never disappointing would that be? I cannot imagine how these people never felt loved; while they did not realize they were missing it, it still is hard to grasp. The Sameness this society lived broke my heart as I continued to read about it and I so badly wanted to love each of them and show them the "real world"! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book again. I think it is a terrific book to read several times throughout one's life because there is so much to gain and learn from it each time you read it at different stages of life.

message 21: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Robbins | 9 comments I do not necessarily remember if/when I read The Giver. I think that this book has a lot to offer to an upper elementary class (5th grade) and particularly to middle school students. From my student teaching experience in 4th grade, I can say that there were students who would fully comprehend what The Giver is and what exactly is going on. However, there are students who simply are not on this reading level. Therefore, I would say that as always you have to know your students and then you can make the judgement on what you want them to read (or invite them to read).
In general, I was surprised at some of the discussion in class about the book and on this group reflection. I look forward to more focused discussions in class.

message 22: by Kristin (new)

Kristin (Kristinbear) | 1 comments Rereading this book 10+ years after my first time through it gave me a much more comprehensive understanding of the story. Looking back to my 11 year old self and what I thought of the book at the time, I do remember relating to Jonas and thinking it was unfair to not be able to make my own choices. When you are an early adolescent, you might feel that many of your choices are made for you; you have to go to school, you have to pass your classes, you have to follow curfew and bedtime rules, you can't drive, etc. Upon my second reading of this book as a 20-something, I found I related just as much to Jonas, but on a different level. I reacted far more to the oppressive government, not just because they disallowed choice, but because they took away individuality, pain, and strife as well. The government of the Community essentially raised generations of naive drones, and that just seems to inhumane to me. I also reacted far more strongly to the idea of asexuality. I had so many questions concerning the birth mothers, the relationships in the marriages of the Community, and suppression of any signs of sexuality. The idea of being an individual is "dangerous" to Jonas and the members of his Community, but to me, the idea of not being an individual is far more perilous.

message 23: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 12 comments This was the first time I had read The Giver since I think my 7th grade year. I remember when I read it I thought it was a great book, but after reading it this time I picked up on SO many more details and experienced much more complex emotions. We talked in class about how it was a good idea to introduce it in the middle grades but then have students read it every few years. I think this is a great idea because as students mature, their reactions to the book are going to change and they will pick up on more details as well (for example, what exactly stirrings are). Another point that was brought up was how some students might get frustrated by the fact that it doesn't have a solid ending. I've personally seen students who get frustrated are often turned off from reading. If this book was given to one of these children the effect could ultimately be very negative. As teachers we need to be able to distinguish which students are ready for a book like this and those who aren't, as to not discourage reading altogether, from either frustration or lack of understanding.

message 24: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Mcclellan | 11 comments Reading The Giver for a second time gave a whole new insight to the depth of this book as well as what I got out of it. We discussed in class that this is a book where you will get something different from it every time you pick it up, and I completely agree with that statement. It was interesting to remember what I had taken from it in middle school (Jonas saved Gabriel was about all I remembered) and seeing how different it is now. Reading it the second time made me see that this is how a perfect communist society would function; void of all emotion, pain, and love. There is something wrong with the way everyone conformed and it didn't seem like much of a life to me. Also, it seemed that the non-ending did not effect how I felt about the book this time. I would like to know what happened to them, but in middle school I spent days trying to figure out what I was picturing their lives post-book. This time around I ended up focusing more on the story and the morals in the story then what the ending should have been.

message 25: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 13 comments Jordan wrote: "This was the first time I had read The Giver since 6th grade and I really enjoyed it! However, the feelings I got from it this time were more extreme then when I read it when I was younger. I felt..."

I agree completely! I felt extremely sad as well when reading it this time. I took if more seriously and read it as real life instead of just a story this time and it created so many emotions inside of me. I felt so bad for these people that they had never felt love or seen colors and even pain. As individuals, we grow from experiences with pain and these people never got to experience it; hence, they never grew individually.

message 26: by Christina (new)

Christina Edmiston (cedmiston) | 11 comments I never read The Giver in school. I actually never heard of the book until last semester, when I had to read the book for one of my EDUC courses.

I must say, reading (and rereading) the book was a wonderful experience. Although I hate how the book doesn't have a CLEAR ending, I think that it's more of a bittersweet feeling. Since I'm an optimist, I would like to believe that the book ended on a positive note and that he finally made it to where he was headed. Furthermore, even if Death was the result of his travels, I think that death would still be better than not living at all in his original community.

I can't imagine living a life where there were no memories, colors, or love. Love is my motivation and inspiration to do anything and everything with my life. I can't imagine living a life where the love for my son was absent and non-existent. Of course, if you were raised in that community and knew nothing else, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. However, that's the whole point of the story. Once the main character realizes that there's SO MUCH MORE out there, he wanted MORE. He didn't want the "sameness" anymore.

I really enjoyed reading this book. While I was reading the book, I sensed this feeling of strange and peculiarity.

On a side note, this book really made me appreciate the world that we live in today. Every community has its positives and negatives, and I love our community's varieties and emotions.

message 27: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Harris | 7 comments Last week was the first time I read The Giver and I loved it. I shared my frustration with the book in class last week. I was disappointed in the ending because I wanted Jonas and Gabe to get to find Elsewhere so bad. I wanted them to survive and find a family so they could experience love. However, the novel ends in a way that makes their outcome ambiguous. The reader is left not knowing what happened for sure. I was probably bothered by this because I am a sucker for happy endings but I definitely finished reading it wanting to know more. My mind was eased a little in class when someone made the suggestion that they think he did get to Elsewhere because he heard music and the giver didn't give him his memories of music so it had to be real. It says "For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music." I hadn't thought about it that way until someone mentioned it but now I feel comforted because I believe Jonas did find Elsewhere.

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