“Does a Literary Canon Matter?” by Katha Pollitt (NR 636)
- Pollitt presents three different positions on the Literary Canon (conservative, liberal, and radical). Briefly outline each. (2 points each, 6 points total)
- Explain which position you find yourself favoring and why.
- Note Pollitt’s extensive use of allusion and references (and the Norton editors’ need to footnote them). How does this help or harm Pollitt’s argument?
“How Teachers Make Children Hate Reading” by John Holt (NR 237)
- Of the mistakes that Holt attributes to teachers, choose the two that you think are most damaging, based on your personal experience. Explain why. (2 points each)
- Name another way that teachers make students hate reading (from your personal experience).
- Assess Holt’s use of anecdote in this piece. How did it make his argument more or less effective?
- How do you feel about reading at this point in your career/life? Do you read for pleasure? Do you read when it is assigned? How have your teachers affected that (positively or negatively)?
Reflect: Based on your reading (especially these two articles), observations, and experience, what do you think is the number one problem in American English classrooms today? How can we solve (or lessen) that problem?
Respond: Write a 5-7 sentence (no word minimum or maximum) proposal to convince me to include your solution in the charter for my new school (The Punch-A-Day Academy). (5 points)