Studying Fiction provides a clear rationale alongside ideas and methods for teaching literature in schools from a cognitive linguistic perspective. Written by experienced linguists, teachers and researchers, it offers an overview of recent studies on reading and the mind, providing a detailed guide to concepts such as attention, knowledge, empathy, immersion, authorial intention, characterisation and social justice.
The book synthesises research from cognitive linguistics in an applied way so that teachers and those researching English in education can consider ways to approach literary reading in the classroom. Each chapter:
- draws on the latest research in cognitive stylistics and cognitive poetics;
- discusses a range of ideas related to the whole experience of conceptualising teaching fiction in the classroom and enacting it through practice;
- provides activities and reflection exercises for the practitioner;
- encourages engagement with important issues such as social justice, emotion and curriculum design.
Together with detailed suggestions for further reading and a guide to available resources, this is an essential guide for all secondary English teachers as well as those teaching and researching in primary and undergraduate phases.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2: Why Study Fiction?
Chapter 3: Identity
Chapter 4: Text Choices
Chapter 5: Attention
Chapter 6: Readers
Chapter 7: Writers
Chapter 8: Emotion
Appendix: ‘Talking About Texts: Exploring reading and identity’ questionnaire
Jessica Mason is Senior Lecturer in English Language at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. She has published widely in the fields of cognitive linguistics, stylistics and English education.
Marcello Giovanelli is Senior Lecturer in English Language and Literature at Aston University, UK. He is the author of ten books and over thirty research articles and book chapters in literary and applied linguistics, and in English education.
‘This book made me think more clearly about how the students in my class encounter literary texts and articulated the important distinction between giving my students authentic reading experiences and teaching them about a particular book. The book poses some difficult and interesting questions about the way we present literature to our students and the very particular practice of classroom reading. The book is especially useful in helping to unpick and make sense of the complexity of reading in the classroom and helping the reader to do the same within their own context. Whilst there are numerous texts on how to teach reading in primary schools, as a secondary teacher I found this refreshing and thought provoking as well as useful in offering ways of reflecting on my teaching myself and with my department.’
Myfanwy Edwards, Curriculum Leader for English, Richmond Upon Thames School, UK
‘In what can only be described as a highly sophisticated exploration of the reader experience, Mason and Giovanelli guide the reader through the extraordinary journey of our interaction with fiction. Studying Fiction sets about tackling the complexities of text engagement: from authorial intent, through to the moment we decide to take a book in our hands for the very first time, both writers scrutinise the process in which we make meaning from texts, and how in turn, they nourish our future selves. Far more than a framework for reading within the classroom, Studying Fiction puts forward contemplations around how we form relationships with fiction: from the deliberations at play during the decision to read a book, to the emotional undertaking as we grieve for our fictional favourites, Studying Fiction enables the reader to understand what it means to read, providing teachers with the necessary comprehension to teach reading as a thing of beauty, beyond the constraint of an examination paper. An essential read for any teacher who wants to actualise just how powerful reading fiction can be.’
Kat Howard, Assistant Principal, The Duston School, Northampton, UK
‘In this book Mason and Giovanelli offer a cogent and engaging discussion of what it means to study, teach and read fiction. Drawing on their own research and expertise, as well as pertinent research in the field, they skilfully align theory with practice, making this book a usable read and reference for university students, academics, and teachers alike. One of the most appealing parts of this book is how the authors’ passion for English and education emanates from each chapter and is then channelled into a series of useful reflections and activities in each chapter section, bolstered with key takeaway points throughout. This book is a rare find that bridges theory and practice in an accessibly academic way, even going as far as to rationalise and provide a solution to the bane of every English teacher’s life: This makes the reader want to read on.’
Ben West, Achievement Lead and Teacher of English, The Garibaldi School, Mansfield, UK