Can Pop Culture and Shakespeare Exist in the Same Classroom? : Using Student Interest to Bring Complex Texts to Life book cover
1st Edition

Can Pop Culture and Shakespeare Exist in the Same Classroom?
Using Student Interest to Bring Complex Texts to Life

ISBN 9781315819815
Published April 11, 2014 by Routledge
134 Pages

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Book Description

Expecting students to jump right into a rigorous literature discussion is not always realistic. Students need scaffolding so that they will be more engaged and motivated to read the text and think about it on a deeper level. This book shows English language arts teachers a very effective way to scaffold—by tapping into students’ interest in pop culture. You’ll learn how to use your students’ ability to analyze pop culture and transfer that into helping them analyze and connect to a text.

Special Features:

  • Tools you can use immediately, such as discussion prompts, rubrics, and planning sheets
  • Examples of real student literature discussions using pop culture
  • Reflection questions to help you apply the book’s ideas to your own classroom
  • Connections to the Common Core State Standards for reading, speaking, and listening

Throughout the book, you’ll discover practical ways that pop culture and classic texts can indeed coexist in your classroom. As your students bridge their academic and social lives, they’ll become more insightful about great literature--and the world around them.

Table of Contents

1. A Different Way of Teaching Literature

2. How to Improve Literature Discussions with Popular Culture

3. Literary Discussions and the Common Core State Standards

4. Using Popular Culture as a Bridge to Complex Texts

5. What Rich Discussion Looks Like and How to Set it Up

6. Successful Discussions and Classroom Democracy in Action

7. Pop Culture and Media Literacy


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Kristine Gritter teaches pre-service and in-service teachers at Seattle Pacific University and is a former middle school language arts teacher.

Kathryn Schoon-Tanis is a professor of rhetoric and composition of popular culture at Hope College in Michigan. She was previously a high school English teacher.

Matthew Althoff is a principal at Seattle Christian Schools and a former middle school language arts teacher.


"Gritter, Schoon-Tanis and Althoff offer an approach to scaffolding and facilitating literature discussion that is at once engaging, democratic and responsive to adolescents’ varying affinities with popular culture. Indeed, Shakespeare and popular culture can comingle in the English language arts classroom, and the authors suggest highly accessible pedagogical moves that will surely situate this book as a welcome addition to English teachers’ libraries."

--Janine Certo, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy, College of Education, Michigan State University

"The long tradition of hooking kids into literature and reading is expanded and detailed in this book. The authors are clearly grounded in every-day, literature-based discussion and they do a great job of helping beginners and experienced teachers alike understand the art of discussion, from popular culture into challenging texts. The book is a nice balance of theory and discussion practice."

--Mark W. Conley, Professor of Literacy, The University of Memphis