Literature Appriciation Through the Junior Novel

Uehara, Barbara
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Literature allows people to lead full, rich, meaningful lives; its values are many. The student who develops an appreciation for literature is able to extend and amplify his own life experiences. Reading increases his awareness of shared human problems, needs, and aspirations; it enhances his knowledge and guides his participation as an active, intelligent citizen in a democratic society. A literature program which cultivates and develops a lasting interest in reading, then, is one of the prime objectives of education. Generally, the junior high school years are considered crucial ones for creating lasting interests in reading. They may be regarded as the transitional period between reading children’s literature and adult literature. (2:16) (The reader needs to keep in mind that the reading required of most high schools was originally written for adults. This concept will be fully developed later in the thesis.) The bridge linking children’s literature and adult literature is the junior novel. Today, its position is an important one in many teen-agers’ lives. A greater awareness of the value of the junior novel for the youth is necessary to help both teachers and parents understand its place in a meaningful literature program in the secondary schools.
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