Novel Study: Everything You Need to Know

This is the deep study, analysis, explanation, and reflection on a set of related stories or novel. But it’s not merely teaching a book. Novel study doesn’t involve quizzing students about the contents on page 40 or 52. It doesn’t need students to simply regurgitate the text. Instead, it’s much more than that. Its aim is to engage students in high-quality literature and help develop their reading, thinking, and comprehension skills. Compared to the typical reading of a textbook, novel study lets students practice and fine-tune their reading, comprehension, and analysis skills in a much more engaging way.

Using novel study, teachers can build a love of reading in their students. When done in a group, it paves the way for shared experiences that creates connections and helps build communities.

The following steps can help teachers plan a novel study:

  •         Decide the timeframe: Based on their district and school, teachers need to decide on the timeframe they wish to assign to a novel study. For instance, if it’s an alternative school where no homework is assigned, all the work will need to be finished in class. This means the teacher will need to set aside a longer duration for a novel study.
  •         Mark vital dates: Teachers should know the exact number of teaching days they will have with their students. For this, they should mark the holidays, in-service days, half-days, and even days they know they’ll be absent due to prior commitments.
  •         Identify days to “teach light”: Some particular days, such as the day before summer or winter break, aren’t ideal for introducing a complex novel or discussing intricate details. Teachers should plan their novel study while keeping these days in mind.
  •         Have a buffer week: If the novel study is planned to be completed within six weeks, teachers should leave the last week as a “buffer” week. That’s because unexpected or unplanned things will invariably crop up and eat into their teaching time, like a snow day, a sudden meeting with the school counselors, or a last-minute assembly that they must attend.

A novel study introduces new vocabulary to students and encourages fluent word decoding and expressions, in addition to quick comprehension and processing that help them focus on character analysis and plot development. Be it study activities for character analysis, exploring plot development, or predicting how the character graph of key players will change, a novel study offers the students food for thought. Thus, it motivates students to read and enjoy the process.

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