Making Meaning in Literature: A Video Library Grades 6-8

This video library opens a window into grades 6-8 language arts classrooms, allowing you to witness the teaching practices of eight exemplary teachers. In diverse classrooms, these teachers use a variety of pedagogical techniques to guide their students into unique and enriching relationships with literature. The teachers in these programs model techniques that help create literary communities – supportive atmospheres for developing readers who are able to speak and write effectively about the texts they encounter.


Series Info

Episodes: 9

Length: 20 min.

Grade Levels:
6, 7, 8

Language Arts and Literature

Video On Demand
Teacher’s Guide
Web Resources

Episode Guide

1. Introducing the Envisionment-Building Classroom — In this program, Dr. Langer describes the hallmarks of an envisionment-building classroom – a place where students can experience literature and make meaning for themselves.

2. Building a Literary Community — In Joe Bernhart’s diverse seventh-grade language arts classroom in Houston, Texas, students work in small groups with a variety of texts in contemporary young adult literature.

3. Asking Questions — In a seventh-grade gifted and talented language arts class in Miami, Florida, Ana Hernandez prompts students to pose their own questions as they read Sharon Draper’s Tears of a Tiger.

4. Facilitating Discussion — Students in Tanya Schnabl’s sixth-rade language arts class in rural Sherburne, New York, become involved with Among the Hidden, Margaret Peterson Haddix’s futuristic text.

5. Seminar Discussion — Dorothy Franklin’s diverse seventh-grade language arts classroom in the heart of Chicago focuses on Langston Hughes’s short story, “Passing.”

6. Dramatic Tableaux — This program features the seventh-grade Berlin, Maryland, classroom of Dr. Jan Currence. Currence and her students delve into Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to               Birmingham – 1963.

7. Readers as Individuals — This program visits Flora Tyler’s sixth-grade language arts class in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to show how one teacher, using writing and reading workshop models, works with students who are each reading a different literary text.

8. The Teacher’s Role in a Literary Community — Barry Hoonan’s fifth- and sixth-grade language arts class on Bainbridge Island in Washington are studying a variety of contemporary young adult fiction titles. As students meet in small groups to focus on each text, Hoonan demonstrates how teachers can tactfully and effectively guide               these discussions.

9. Whole-Group Discussions — Witness an effective literary community as Linda Rief’s eighth-grade language arts class in Durham, New Hampshire discusses Lois Lowry’s The Giver.