Historical fiction: close reading of literature in a didactic context

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    My interest and talk concerns how to use historical text in close reading within the school subject History. The presentation is both didactic and literary. In my doctoral thesis from 2010, I studied 11-year-olds reading Maj Bylock ́s fictional historical trilogy about the Viking era. I analysed the novel Drakskeppet (1997) and made comparisons to the children’s historybooks. The thesis consists of a textual analysis part and an empirical one; the latter is discussion-based learning and shows results of close reading. My further empirical material consists of text talks to 11-year -olds during about seven months’ time with historical texts as the main text during lessons. I will in my presentation discuss three texts used in the learning process: a text from the middle ages and also Ronja, The Robber’s daughter by Astrid Lindgren as well as an American historical novel.The main subject is : Can text talks and close reading improve historical knowledge? There are two main aspects of the research: the didactic research question is how to become a reader with a deep understanding of text and the historical research area is about how to achieve a better understanding in the school subject History by discussions. The didactic methods and theoretical framework used are text talks inspired by professor Judith Langer, University of Albany, USA. Her work and ideas in Envisioning Literature: Literary Understanding and Literature Instruction (2010) is used. Her "envisioning buildning" structure including questions is used in close reading of texts, preferably historical texts. Her associate researchers Mary Adler and Eija Rougle has operationalized her work and give examples of close reading and discussion-based learning. My presentation will altogether discuss the impact historical fiction can have on the young people’s understanding of both the past and our time as well as howtexts may be best used in order to create knowledge and understanding of the past. Empirical classroom work about text talks will be included and some of the text discuss emigration and diaspora linked to research by Robin Cohen.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event10th IAIMTE International Conference, Odense, 3-5 June 2015 -
    Duration: 1980-Jan-01 → …


    Conference10th IAIMTE International Conference, Odense, 3-5 June 2015
    Period80-01-01 → …

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Humanities and the Arts (6)


    • didactic close reading
    • discussion-based learning
    • historical fiction
    • text talks


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