Why should we teach literature

Literature belongs in the classroom!

The subject of reading requires more and more attention and demands a long-term solution. How can you get a grip on this problem with increasingly heterogeneous classes, insufficient provision of lessons, the complex implementation of the digital pact and everything that is still keeping the German school landscape in suspense?

December 10th, 2019 Nationwide press release Ernst Klett Sprachen Verlag
  • © Thomas Weccard New reading projects for language classes promote the reading skills of the pupils.

The latest PISA study, the results of which confirm that the reading competence of schoolchildren in this country is tending to decline, is currently focusing attention again on the essentials: Core competencies such as reading and writing are coming back into focus, because every child's further educational path is based on this on. According to the PISA study, however, every fifth fifteen-year-old in Germany cannot read even at primary school level. The promotion of reading should therefore be a dominant topic in the educational landscape and the idea of ​​a “national reading pact” should not remain just a demand. The targeted use of literature in the classroom is a real opportunity to improve the reading skills of children and adolescents in the long term and thus even to reduce functional illiteracy in the long term. A clear approach to this is the active support of schools and teachers in order to maintain literary reading in the classroom, because this is often precisely the challenge - due to heterogeneous classes and the different reading behavior of the students. In order to provide all children and young people with optimal access to literature, internally differentiated offers and reading material are required that are tailored to their needs. In particular, pupils who are poorly literate or have a low literary affinity must be picked up specially.

“We have been trying for years to promote reading - especially in German and foreign language teaching - and keep offering teachers new input, developing new reading series and recommending various approaches on how literature can manifest itself profitably for teaching. We sponsor literary competitions and support various reading initiatives. Reading skills must be trained in a targeted manner, and teachers receive our support for this. As a publisher, we are committed to education and are precisely one of those actors that Dr. Jörg F. Maas (General Manager of the Reading Foundation) calls for action in the implementation of a national reading pact. Because that is indeed the key to first-class education, ”explains Elizabeth Webster, Managing Director of Ernst Klett Sprachen Verlag.

Literature not only sharpens language and reading skills, but also the senses

What does the ideal language course look like? In addition to teaching written and oral skills, reading should be an integral and important part, right from the start. By using reading material in class, pupils not only continuously improve their language skills and train reading skills, they can also reflect on social issues through reading, find opportunities for identification, but also learn something about other “worlds”. Literary reading is to a certain extent formative for their life - especially for the school one. Dealing with literature in school must therefore by no means be reduced due to changing structures in education. Not all children are fundamentally interested in literature and can, for example, fall back on beautiful reading experiences; they have to be introduced to literary reading using new methods. Ernst Klett Sprachen Verlag has long since responded and expanded its program with new series of readings and modern approaches: combining the comic genre with classic texts, or reading - told in different perspectives and reading levels. In particular, teachers are supported with extensive accompanying materials and handouts, which make additional time-consuming lesson preparation unnecessary. New concepts for primary school, for secondary school, for entry into a foreign language, but also for advanced - there is the right concept for every reading requirement.

Differentiated reading in primary school

A new reading series for primary school pupils with different reading skills will appear in spring 2020. The reading series is intended to pick up children who learn more slowly and do not have an easy reading environment at home, as well as children who learn faster and have no problem reading material Find. Because a differentiation must inevitably also take place in primary school literature. Two different reading levels are served through two perspectives. While readings for the primary level are only linguistically differentiated, so that the students can only read one story in one of the reading levels, the two-in-one principle allows the entire book to be read progressively and not just one reading level from it. This makes the reading series suitable not only in class, but also for reading at home. In addition, reading skills are progressively trained with the help of exciting literature from well-known children's book authors.

L‘heure des livres: French literature as a class project

In mid-December, a new type of reading project for French will be published by Klett Sprachen Verlag - L‘heure des livres. It is suitable for beginners in the first two years of learning French. This includes a magazine file (coffret d’album), which is exhibited in the classroom, and contains 10 small picture books (albums) with selected stories from original literature. The stories are read independently and dealt with further in four different studios. The reading project offers a wide range of opportunities to combine important language skills: writing, vocabulary, creative design, presenting, and much more.The idea comes from Uta Grasse, who is a French teacher herself. For the “reading workshop” at her school, she put together a piece of French reality in the form of a large box of books full of small albums and then worked on materials for targeted reading training. The pédagogique dossier L'heure des livres was developed to accompany this. It contains practical instructions for the studios and teaching materials for the "albums", which support the realization of various reading projects. In addition, the publisher has produced an explanatory video for teachers in which the editor explains the project in detail.

Gripping formats for the advanced level

For the upper level or advanced, the publisher recommends didactic reading material with current topics that offer a lot of discussion material or can be read in the form of plays. For example the school edition of Ferdinand von Schirach's play “Terror” with annotations. For higher grades or advanced learners, readings with the big topics “Identifying Identity” or “Growing Up” are suggested. Media topics such as “climate change” or, just as topical, the topic of “inclusion” are also included in the range of lectures. With the help of good reading, such topics can be dealt with critically but also empathically in class. Schoolchildren have been familiar with the term "Asperger's Autism" since Greta Thunberg at the latest. The novel “Buenos Días, Laia” was awarded the Spanish youth prize “Premio Jordi Sierra y Fabra” last year and is recommended by the publisher for Spanish lessons (level B1). Through a moving story, young people learn through the eyes of the protagonist how important the recognition and acceptance of every person as a member of society is today, and should actually be a matter of course.

On the subject of “reading in language lessons”, the publisher offers practical online seminars with various focuses all year round free of charge. Teachers receive extensive information on the various reading series, how they can best use them for their lessons and which title is best for their class.

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