Young Adult Literature in Education

The article entitled, “What’s the Big Idea? Integrating Young Adult Literature in the Middle School,” written by George A. Marshall brought up a lot of interesting information that I want to look deeper into. The article is based on a study that Mr. Marshall did, who interviewed three different Jr. High grade school teachers to try and find a way to best integrate Young Adult Literature into the curriculum. He discovered that teachers who can create multiple genre thematic units, where a variety of texts are linked by some common theme have a better time getting a response from their students. Teachers can use young adult literature in their classrooms to explore the themes and issues that face teachers and students alike. When Young Adult Literature was used, in relation to a broad theme of the course, the students were better able to identify with the characters or the story line, creating critical thinking and deep responses to the text.

This idea got me thinking about the novels we are discussing in this class and how they might be used in a Middle School or High School level. In reading Shore Girl, it could inspire emotion and evoke a sense of relation to the text. When students are able to identify with the text, there is a better chance of discussion and critical thinking, which in turn can create an ability for creative writing. Younger students could think back to their own childhood and how their identity was formed, in comparison to Rebee.

When looking at Swimmers, an older audience, perhaps Jr. High would be able to reflect on how Hunter dealt with losing a friend and that could inspire some great Language Arts skills. The class could also discuss ways in which the environment and the people around us have such an influence in our lives.

In one of the interviews that George Marshall performed, Maria who taught a grade seven class explained that her students asked to read “more literature about kids our age” (Marshall 77). This just shows the quality and usefulness of Young Adult Literature to students who fit that same age category. Students are able to relate to the characters and make personal connections are parallels with the text.

Megan Peters


George, Marshall A. “What’s the Big Idea? Integrating Young Adult Literature in the Middle School.” The English Journal: The Lure of Young Adult Literature 90.3 (2001): 74-81. National Council of Teachers of English.


One thought on “Young Adult Literature in Education

  1. Kevan says:

    I think integrating YA literature at the middle and high school levels is a great way to encourage critical thinking and class-wide discussion at a young age! I love the classics that most of us read in high school, but because these texts are so widely studied it seems that there are definitively “right” and “wrong” ways of reading them. One of the merits of studying YA lit (and Canadian YA lit in particular) is that there are fewer crutches for the students to rely on in their studies. Websites like SparkNotes are great for helping kids grasp some of the abstract themes in more complex texts, but I think exploring novels outside of the traditional “high school canon” would force students to think and read critically without the fear of doing it “wrong”.


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