I’m Writing a Book on Teaching Literature!


I am officially beginning to write a book on teaching literature—a book simmering inside me for many years now. My working title is The Tree of Reading: How and Why to Teach Literature. I want to help teachers help students develop powerful reading skills, deepen their lives, and bless the world. Building on current scholarship on teaching and learning and on a decade of my own experiments in teaching literature and reading, the book will marry a grand, idealistic vision with concrete, grounded teaching practices. (See the working outline below.) The writing is being supported by a partial sabbatical at Southeastern University, in my tenth year of teaching here.

I am looking for writing comadres (“co-mothers”), as Gloria Anzaldúa puts it. Please get in touch with me if you want to:

  • Encourage me,
  • Recommend readings I should cite or think about while writing the book,
  • Share how reading or literature has shaped or changed or stuck with you in some way,
  • Share a good idea or activity you have for teaching literature,
  • Tell me about an outstanding literature teacher you’ve had,
  • Tell me about problems or challenges or disillusionments that you’ve run into with reading or teaching literature,
  • Read short excerpts of my work and talk through my thinking and writing with me from time to time as I go along in the process, or
  • Publish the book or recommend a publisher.

You can email me [p t corrigan at gmail dot com] or find me on FB or use this link to get in touch through a Google Form.

Working Outline

The Tree of Reading:
How and Why to Teach Literature


Chapter 1. Why Read and Teach Literature

Chapter 2. The Threshold Concepts of Literary Studies

Chapter 3. Teaching Active Reading

Chapter 4. Teaching Critical Reading

Chapter 5. Teaching Contemplative Reading

Chapter 6. Teaching Discussion as a Reading Practice

Chapter 7. The Future of Reading

Coda: Reading and Life


6 responses to “I’m Writing a Book on Teaching Literature!

  1. This sounds like a great book in the works! Teaching literature becomes tougher each year, so we need all the help we can get. Can’t wait to see the finished product! ~ Beth (simple-shenanigans.blog)

      • Students simply aren’t reading like they did years ago; in fact, more and more parents that I meet with aren’t reading. It keeps me on my toes as a teacher, which I enjoy, in order to continue finding new ways to inject my kids with all the great literature out there.

  2. Paul, I would love to hear more about how you are doing on this book. It’s really needed in the field. I’m teaching a course on teaching college literature, and there really isn’t much out there that is systematized as your book promises to be. Here’s a book I co-authored recently on teaching literature in hs/ms. I’ll be glad to send you a copy if you’ll share some of your drafts with me. https://secure.ncte.org/store/continuing-the-journey

    • Your book looks awesome! I’d love to have and read a copy and to share drafts of mine with you. Why don’t you get in touch by email and we’ll swap information on where we should each send our respective documents. Also, to answer your question, my book is coming along nicely. I have getting close to having half of it drafted. I plan to start sending query letters to publishers soon.

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