What is the Importance of a Novel Study in Middle School?

A novel study, simply put, is when a class reads a novel and studies it collectively. It is a crucial element of middle school education that aids in improving understanding, fostering meaningful discussions and building a love for literature.

What is a Novel Study?

The term ‘novel study’ refers to the detailed examination of a chosen novel in a classroom setting. It allows students to delve into the complexities of a text, deepening their understanding and appreciation of literature. A novel study is not just about comprehending the story; it’s about developing reading comprehension and thinking skills through high-quality literature.

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Importance of Novel Studies

    • Multidisciplinary Learning: Novel studies help connect multiple facets like comprehension skills, vocabulary build-up, historical awareness and social perspectives to name a few.
    • Boosting Reading and Writing Skills: A literature-rich curriculum improves reading and writing skills, reinforcing learning through engaging and relevant content.
    • Social and Communication Skills: Regular discussions on reading allow students to engage in intellectual discussions, encouraging the development of social and communication skills.

Structure of Novel Studies

Novel studies typically follow a structure that involves the teacher guiding the students through the book, stopping to ask questions, clarify the text, and engage in group discussions. They also offer space for reflecting, summarizing, and connecting text to personal experiences. Novel studies can look different in diverse classroom settings, and they generally come in three formats:

    • Whole-Class Novel Study: Here, everyone reads the same book, creating a shared experience and building community.
    • Small-Group Novel Study: Each group reads a different text and has discussions, offering varying perspectives.
    • Independent Novel Study: Individual students read different texts based on their interests or needs, promoting independent study skills.
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Choosing Novels for Study

The choice of novels depends largely on your educational goal, the students’ reading abilities, interests and background experiences. It’s important to read any novel intended for classroom study and ensure its appropriateness for the students.

Mapping your Novel Study

Mapping involves breaking down your chosen novel into approachable chunks, identifying important comprehension skills and vocabulary words, and aligning these factors with the novel’s plot. Also, consider how you’ll introduce and conclude your novel study and assess student understanding through the unit.

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In conclusion, a novel study in a middle school context is an essential educational strategy that engages students in high-quality literature while refining their thinking, comprehension, and communication skills. Choosing the right novels, planning for the study, and conducting the learning process through a well-planned structure are foundational for a successful novel study. The experience liaises reading with joy, constructing an integral setting for students to thrive in their educational journey.

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