"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When is a book not a book?

In what has now become a Father's Day weekend tradition, my daughter and I drove up to Montreal with my parents.  Twelve hours of driving passed quickly, we talked, listened to music and read.
While my daughter and I drove, my mother read the Nancy Drew mystery, The Hidden StaircaseIt did not matter that we had all read this book before.  Three sets of ears eagerly rested on my mother's voice and waited to see what might happen next. For Nancy Drew does find herself in some thrilling adventures.  
The stereotypes and generalizations in all the versions of the Nancy Drew stories can give pause, but can also provide good topics for conversation.  Thankfully, Nancy's "slender" shoulders could handle these thrilling adventures. Despite this, at the right moments, these books still provide hours of entertainment.

We started to think about ways to use the books with students, such as playing with and understanding language by using a thesaurus to find synonyms.  "Nancy said wonderingly" might be better described with another adverb.  We also had fun thinking about homonyms.  At one point, Nancy was working through a problem that was knotty and getting knottier.  I was laughing thinking about an ill-behaved or mischievous problem, a naughtier problem.

This led to my next idea - Nancy Drew skits!  Give a group of students a scene to act out.  They could demonstrate both the good and bad use of language.  Picture students acting out these scenes:
"Nathan Gombet's shifty eyes roved to the door, and, suddenly, he made a spring for it."
What does a "low exclamation of pleasure and belief" sound like?
 How does one murmur brokenly?
 Nancy glides here...
but prances here...  
and springs here.

My last idea?  Black out poems.  These pages should produce some very funny and descriptive poems. When is a book not a book?  When it is a script for skits, a word bank for poems and a language developer.


  1. YES! Love the blackout poem concept!

  2. Here's a few of my favorite black out poems and black out art using old books.