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Be a Better Writer--USING DIALECT

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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swfdoc1
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Re: Be a Better Writer--USING DIALECT

Postby swfdoc1 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:42 pm

glorybee wrote:The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was another one that I loved reading aloud to my students. So much fun!


That must have been interesting with 200-some occurrences of the n-word.

glorybee wrote:(Sorry for dinging you on the King James English.)


But you were right, and I was wrong. Another lesson in "trust your reader."
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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glorybee
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Re: Be a Better Writer--USING DIALECT

Postby glorybee » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:55 pm

swfdoc1 wrote:
glorybee wrote:The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was another one that I loved reading aloud to my students. So much fun!


That must have been interesting with 200-some occurrences of the n-word.



We always preceded our Huck Finn unit with a frank discussion of the n-word and historical context. The students were very mature about it, every year. My co-teacher and I said that we would say it when we were reading aloud, to be true to the novel and its time. We also emphasized that neither of us would ever use that word on our own, and we often ended up discussing other subjects like racism, censorship, etc. We always gave them the option, for when they were reading out loud--read the word or say a substitute. Either choice was acceptable, according to their own comfort levels. Finally, we made it clear that there was to be no inappropriate snickering, emphasis, or anything else potentially offensive in their classroom behavior. Oh, and we sent notes home to the parents with the discussion points, too, welcoming their input. Never once did we have to deal with anything inappropriate, nor with upset parents. I was proud of the 9th graders, every time.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--USING DIALECT

Postby swfdoc1 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:20 pm

That's a great report. I am definitely against the editions that have replaced the n-word with the word "slave," but I thought it might be very uncomfortable to read it out loud. Again, great report. What was the racial composition of the classes? (I hope this is not a thread hi-jack, given point 3 of your lesson.)
Steve
nlf.net
________
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Be a Better Writer--USING DIALECT

Postby glorybee » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:30 pm

Typically in a class of 25 or so, we'd have 1 or 2 African-American students, and maybe one of some other minority. The rest were typically white.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--USING DIALECT

Postby swfdoc1 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:25 pm

Interesting. Thanks.
Steve
nlf.net
________
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Be a Better Writer--USING DIALECT

Postby RachelM » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:42 am

We are now half way through reading Huckleberry Finn. I started out by reading aloud the n- word, and I talked about it with my children, but my husband was very uncomfortable with how frequent it is, and now I substitute it with "negro."

Jim's dialect was very difficult for me to read and even understand at first, but I am thoroughly enjoying it now and have found different voices for the "King" and the "Duke" too.

I read aloud for almost an hour every night. (Four books: a biology book, a fun math series, a novel, and end with a picture book for the little ones.) It's my favourite part of the day. Dialects are always delightful to read and make it easier to give a "voice" for each character.
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