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A fresh approach to

studying literature with the whole class 


 The Whole Novel


At the center of the whole novel approach is the radical notion that in order to fall in love with reading and engage in high level analytical work with texts (emphasized in the Common Core State Standards), students need to first experience the work in its entirety.   

For an overview of the method, click here

For tips for moving toward a whole novel approach, click here


Authentic Response


Whole novel studies are propelled by students' authentic responses to the text rather than to teacher questioning.  Students learn habits of response, critical thinking, rereading, and group discussion, and generate their own questions for further investigation and writing.  

Here is an illustration of how student response drives whole novel studies.

For an excerpt on students' differentiated approaches to the response process, click here.



A Literary World

Whole novel studies allow students to enter a world of  literature with a degree of independence, but also benefit from the intellectual community--both the support and the differing perspectives--offered by the group experience.

To hear what students have to say about whole novel studies click here.  

Perhaps ironically, I’ve found that the key to helping students take a work apart for close analysis is letting them read the whole thing first.
— Ariel Sacks, Whole Novels for the Whole Class


Whole Novels For the Whole Class: A Student Centered Approach  is available from Jossey Bass publishers and where books are sold.


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Follow: @arielsacks on Twitter   

Share & Discuss: #wholenovels 



Preview the first chapter here