I would like to start with a critical look at the literary texts in coursebooks and the reading lists in Flemish secondary schools and of the participants in the workshop. Then I will elaborate on a teenage fiction project which I set up for 16-17-year-olds in a secondary school in Brugge. The aim of the project was to provide text for extensive reading. The project focused on teenage fiction as novels for adolescents are generally written in a natural, present-day English. Moreover, the combination of narrative and dialogue makes teenage literature particularly accessible to learners of English. I will address the following questions: How can you motivate students to read and find the ‘right’ books? What sort of activities give your students a real sense of achievement and allow them to enjoy literature? In what way can novels for adolescents provide a stepping stone to literature with a capital L? Do we need to teach the literary canon? In what way can we expand that canon?
I will present a number of task sheets and reading portfolios that can replace the traditional book report and that have proved useful and rewarding in the teenage fiction project. I will finish by providing a reading list including books that are accessible to adolescent learners of English.
I am a staff member of the Teacher Training Department of the KULeuven, Belgium. There are teach seminars on reading and literature in EFL.
I am also a lecturer of English for Specific Purposes at the Kortrijk Campus of the same university.
I also teach English at a secondary school (Sint-Franciscus-Xaveriusinstituut) in Brugge. With Lieve Deprez I co-wrote a book on using teenage fiction in EFL (After English Class: Jeugdliteratuur in de Engelse les. Wolters-Plantyn, 2007).