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Reel Reading for Real Readers: Pride and Prejudice

20130207-190708.jpgSome of my colleagues might think I am anti-classics, but this is assuredly not so. I just hate how we commit what Kelly Gallagher calls Readicide by reading them to death in English classes. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my all time favorite:  book and movie. The characters speak to me, and I’d know them on the street; I’ve read of them so many times. I even fantasize about living in turn of the century rural England. Well, maybe not fantasize, but I would like to travel to the English countryside someday.

Official Movie Trailer:  Pride and Prejudice

I want students to read this book. I do not want them to hate it. Therefore, I will talk it up. Quote some characters, show them this movie trailer, and offer a bribe or two if I have to: “I’ll bake you tiny cakes and bring you tea.” Whatever.

“My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” — Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

Do you remember that scene in You Got Mail? Meg Ryan’s character has praised Elizabeth Bennett and in subtle ways thrown down the challenge to Tom Hank’s character to read the book. He tries. For her. It’s the sweetest thing ever.

My daughters and I love all things Jane Austen. When the movie Becoming Jane came out, we were on a girls’ trip in Florida where the drivers love their horns, and we shook hands with a young man named Mr. Stubbs who was missing half a finger. The four of us walked into the movie theater, and we waltzed out humming the score and discussing literature. This mother’s perfect evening, surrounded by loving daughters who talk about books.

I’m all about building relationships with my students. By sharing my love of Pride and Prejudice with them– and why I love it, they will see a glimpse into me. The me outside the English class. The me who loves being a mom. Who goes to the movies. Who takes her girls to Florida on vacation. Who finds irony in people’s names.

If my students know me, I have a better chance of knowing them. Books and literature are so much more than reading material.

So, let’s play a bit here. What’s your favorite CLASSIC text, and why?

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2 thoughts on “Reel Reading for Real Readers: Pride and Prejudice

  1. shanakarnes September 7, 2013 at 9:13 am Reply

    Favorite classics of all time? Pride and Prejudice is number one, of course, and Amy, Erika, and Emily are well acquainted with that fact. Other delights are Fahrenheit 451, East of Eden, and The Scarlet Letter. To add to the irony, yesterday was my birthday, so I told students I’d be booktalking my two most favorite, loved, and frequently re-read books–Pride and Prejudice was one, and Harry Potter was the other. 🙂

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  2. Erika Bogdany September 5, 2013 at 10:01 am Reply

    I find many things in life to be ironic, and the timeliness of this post is no exception. For some time now, a reread of Charlotte’s Web has been gnawing at me. As I’ve been searching for (and buying) books for my class library all summer long (in the most unconventional places) I have felt compelled to seek out this title. And the irony…it’s never available.

    As I found myself listening intently to the guest literacy presenter that joined our staff the other day, she spoke briefly about guiding students in creating captivating introductions within their writing. The example: two excerpts from Charlotte’s Web. Next time you pick up a copy, take note; the introduction to chapter three was the original opening for this children’s classic.

    Later in the day, after all PD was over, I happened to be unpacking books that have been donated to our class lending library. I uncovered a copy donated from the late Honorable Gustin L. Reichbach of NYC. The best part: it’s an original from 1952. The irony wasn’t lost on me. It was worth the wait!

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