One time, I faced the challenge of making my students get hook into reading classic short stories in World Literature.
It is not easy to engage them into something they are not used to doing. First, there is an absence of a reading culture in their group. Second, their inclination lies in sports and kinesthetics.
So instead of boring them to death with daily lectures on different stories we need to finish during that quarter, I divided them into groups instead and hand over one story to finish for each group.
The stories included Guy de Maupessant’s The Necklace, Antoine St. de Exupery’s The Little Prince, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s David Swan, Luigi Pirandello’s War, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and James Joyce’s Araby.
In their respective group, their task is primarily to read and understand together the story in the light of the different elements present. Of course that included the characters and their characterization, plot, theme, morale, and vocabulary. I asked them to put in a visual diagram all those elements that they have identified in their story and to draw their interpretation of the story, as well.
Each group was able to produce their story diagram and illustration ready for exhibit. The next thing I asked them to do is to exhibit their product and allow their classmates to visit their station.
In each station, a reporter was assigned to retell the story. The ‘visitors’ listened to the sharing and took down notes, which they are required to keep for checking.
In a matter of an hour, everybody in the class gets a glimpse of each short story that have captured the hearts of men and women. Their background about the stories, though incomplete, would make them motivated to read each story and to share what they have learned.