Why is it important to read great literature?

Currently my AP students are wrestling with the question: why is it important to read great literature? I asked them to come up with ideas on their own and then do an internet search to find what others are saying. There can be no doubt that reading, of any kind, is an important thing to […]

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Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama, I watched the 2012 Democratic National Convention. I listened as Michelle told of your ritual of reading letters from ordinary (perhaps extraordinary, too) Americans each night. She said that you believed these letters are a key to being better informed. That impressed me. I hope you don’t mind if I publish my […]

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Beyond Another Brick in The Wall

In my first years of teaching, I was still learning the ways of students whose veiled ulterior motives were not always obvious to me. However, as I listened to Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in The Wall yesterday on the radio, I realized suddenly that when my English 11 students in 1991 were begging me to […]

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Books I haven’t read, and won’t

People say “life’s too short” to refer to numerous things they choose not to do. Life’s too short to …. just fill in the blank with whatever you think is a waste of your time. For me, life’s too short to read bad books. I never did read the Twilight series, even though many of […]

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You Will Live Many Lives

What follows is the text of my farewell speech, written as part of the final AP English Literature project. We all wrote farewell (valedictory speeches) and delivered them formally in the auditorium. It was a unique experience. See the Wordle I created from all of the speeches in the post below. You Will Live Many […]

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AP English Speeches, A Wordle

I wanted my senior AP English Literature class to have an important experience for their end of the year project, something after the exam that would be personally meaningful. I also recognized that public speaking was not something we focused on in AP, but a skill they would need again and again in the future. So […]

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Mother’s Day, Poetry, and Technology

Take a moment to write your mother a hand-scribed note, suggests The Academy of American Poets ( To help you, they’ve created six lovely blank note cards (pdf files to print). In addition, you can choose from a nice array of Mother’s Day appropriate excerpts from poems to include as an epigram to get you started. […]

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