Publication:
The challenges of engagement: The perks of young adult literature in the secondary English classroom

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Authors
Rodriguez Astacio, René M.
Embargoed Until
Advisor
Irizarry Rodríguez, José M.
College
College of Arts and Sciences - Arts
Department
Department of English
Degree Level
M.A.E.E.
Publisher
Date
2016
Abstract
Young adult literature is a literary genre whose popularity has risen over the years due to its portrayal of the teenage experience. Since the publication of the first young adult novel, writers have candidly portrayed real life issues pertinent to teenagers across decades. Paired with the marketing prowess of publishers who have contributed to the development of young adult literature, this genre has found its place in the lives of readers worldwide. Therefore, this research aims to argue that although a commercial genre young adult literature should be integrated in English secondary classrooms in Puerto Rico as means for students to not only comply in their academic expectations but also at an intrinsic personal level. Through the creation of lesson plans that incorporate reflective writing based on Louise Rosenblatt’s Readers Response Theory and Freire’s Critical Pedagogy, students will be able to make meaning of the issues the characters in young adult novels face, which are sometimes deemed inappropriate for discussion in a classroom setting. As such, this study presents a brief history of young adult literature as a genre and an analysis of three young adult novels: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and Going Bovine. Additionally, this research presents the findings of an on-site study, which assesses students’ experience and stance regarding the inclusion of challenging topics and reflective writing in the classroom in order to assist in the creation of lesson plans.

La literatura juvenil es un género literario cuya popularidad ha aumentado a través de los años debido a la representación de la vida de los adolescentes. Esto, junto a las estrategias de las casas publicadoras en mercadear dicho género, ha contribuido al desarrollo de la literatura juvenil por lo que ha llegado a ocupar un lugar importante en la vida de muchos de sus lectores alrededor del mundo. Por lo tanto, esta investigación busca justificar la integración de la literatura juvenil en las clases de inglés a nivel secundario en Puerto Rico para que los estudiantes no solo cumplan con las expectativas académicas del grado, sino que la lectura y el análisis de esta literatura contribuyan al desarrollo personal. Esto se logra mediante la creación de planes de enseñanza apoyados en el modelo transaccional de la lectura y escritura diseñado por Louise Rosenblatt y la pedagogía crítica diseñada por Paulo Freire. Por consiguiente, este estudio presenta brevemente la historia del desarrollo de la literatura juvenil como género literario además de un análisis de tres novelas para jóvenes tituladas, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe y Going Bovine. Asimismo, esta investigación evalúa la experiencia y la postura de los estudiantes ante la inclusión de temas desafiantes y el uso de la escritura como modo de reflexión en la sala de clases en una escuela superior pública de Puerto Rico.
Keywords
Young adult literature,
Secondary education,
Reflective writing,
Lesson plans
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