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ERIC Number: EJ776512
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Something to "Speak" about: Addressing Sensitive Issues through Literature
Jackett, Mark
English Journal, v96 n4 p102-105 Mar 2007
"Speak," by Laurie Halse Anderson, is one of the most powerful young adult novels to come along in the past decade. It has won numerous awards, including the "School Library Journal" award for "Best Book of the Year," and was a National Book Award Finalist. Despite this acclaim, many English teachers are uncomfortable teaching "Speak" in their classes because of its mature subject matter. "Speak" is the story of a ninth-grade girl, Melinda, who is raped by a senior boy. Many teachers might have difficulty discussing this and related issues with students, as well as with justifying the use of this vital novel to department chairs, principals, and parents. However, often the things that make teachers uncomfortable are the things that are the most important for them to teach about, the most important for them, as Melinda learns, to "speak" about. Although teachers might feel uncomfortable discussing these issues with their students, students' uneasiness is even greater. High school students, and in particular ninth graders, often lack the maturity necessary to talk about such sensitive topics in front of the whole class. In this article, the author describes how he organized the study of this novel with his students.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 9; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A