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Talking Back to Morrison’s Texts: From Reader to Writer. By: Tonya Wells-Abari. Introduction. Why teach Morrison’s texts? Challenges of teaching Morrison’s texts From Readers to Writers Teaching Strategies. Importance of Teaching Morrison. Rich in Language—both Literal and Figurative

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Presentation Transcript


  • Why teach Morrison’s texts?

  • Challenges of teaching Morrison’s texts

  • From Readers to Writers

  • Teaching Strategies

Importance of teaching morrison
Importance of Teaching Morrison

  • Rich in Language—both Literal and Figurative

  • Characterization

  • Teaching Writing in Context

  • Historical Context

History is the gateway to the future
History is the Gateway to the Future

“I'm interested in the way in which the past affects the present and I think that if we understand a good deal more about history, we automatically understand a great more about contemporary life. Also, there's more of the past for imaginative purposes than there is of the future.”

--Morrison, An Interview with Time Magazine

Challenge opportunity






Challenge = Opportunity


Literacy first

Student Strategies




Using Prior Knowledge

Context Clues


Active Reading

Pre, During, After Reading


Teacher Strategies

Explicit Instruction

Multiple Intelligences


Model Strategies

Focused Questions

Graphic Organizers

Think Aloud

Literature Circles

Reciprocal Teaching

Literacy First

Student strategies cont
Student Strategies Cont.

  • KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned)

  • Double-Entry Journal

  • Sociograms

Q uestion a nswer r elationships








On Your




Question Answer Relationships

  • QAR’s helps students to identify the four types of questions:

From reader to writer
From Reader to Writer

“I think some aspects of writing can be taught. Obviously, you can't teach vision or talent. But you can help with comfort.”

--Toni Morrison

Teach writing to all students
Teach Writing to All Students

  • Variety of Culminating Activities

  • Literature Circles and Socratic Seminars: Get them talking

  • Text Structures

  • Help students become familiar with key terms (i.e. cause/effect, compare/contrast, analyze, evaluate, etc.)

Modernism includes technology
Modernism Includes Technology

  • Internet

  • Web-based Journals (AKA the BLOG)

  • Imagination Software

  • Audio-Visual Equipment

  • Office Hours via AIM

Create a blog

Students can create their own personal blog and URL address. They can respond to the text and enter their information just like a traditional journal. Other students can even reply and edit their entries.

Create a Blog


  • Help students to build upon the ideas of Modernism

  • Encourage students to be literary scientists

  • Teach strategies that allow students to first, become better readers—this will ultimately improve their writing as well.

The end

For more information or a copy of this presentation, please contact Tonya Wells-Abari or Marjorie Lancaster.

Thank you for your time.

Tonya Wells-Abari:

[email protected]


Marjorie Lancaster:

[email protected]


The End

Facilitator bios
Facilitator Bios contact Tonya Wells-Abari or Marjorie Lancaster.

Tonya Wells-Abari is currently a Humanities teacher with On Location Education: School for Young Performers (NY). Additionally, she is a full time writer and copyeditor as well. Some of her credits include HBO’s The Wire, National Treasure 2, Body of Lies, The Lion King and The Color Purple traveling tour. Tonya is also a Language Matters II participant and has used her knowledge of Morrison in both traditional and non-traditional classroom settings. Mrs. Wells-Abari holds a B.A. from the University of MD at College Park and a MBA from the University of MD, University College. She enjoys reading, music, and spending time with family and friends.

Facilitator bios1
Facilitator Bios contact Tonya Wells-Abari or Marjorie Lancaster.

Marjorie S. Lancaster is currently a 12th grade English teacher at East Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Mrs. Lancaster is a veteran teacher with 32 years of teaching under her belt (28 of those years were spent teaching high school). She holds a B.A. from Duke University and a M.A. from Tulane University. Also a Language Matters II participant, Marjorie feels that teaching Morrison in her classroom is “not an option,” for she has witnessed her students acquire the same passion that she has for Morrison’s work over the years.