Assigning Readings

How do you choose what readings to assign? Rarely does anyone assign all the readings in the English book. Imagine the Norton Anthology (all 4500 pgs of it) assigned in a sophomore lit class. Not likely.

So, how do you choose readings to assign?

I was going through the new book for my Developmental Writing class. There are 75 possible readings. I couldn’t read them all, obviously. But how did I choose?

Some are too sad. No. If you’ve read the blog for long, you know how I feel about sad endings. I just don’t like them. But I understand that sometimes you must read sad things. See Teaching Literature: Sad vs Funny for how I introduce this topic to my students.

Some are too vulgar. No. I do not feel able to present this reading without offending someone. I am going to stay away from it. It might make for good discussion, but I am not going to have the students read it.

Others, there is vulgarity, but for a point. One speaks of a woman showing off her pubic hair to an older woman as a way of embarrassing the old woman. I’m going to read that one. I think the students will be interested in the older etiquette and it will allow us to talk about social mores and how they differ among cultural groups.

Some I choose because they talk about information the students might not know.

Some because I know other information that might make them even more interesting.

It’s an interesting experience, reading through a text to choose the assigned readings.

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