Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Resources for Teaching The Kite Runner

I'll be teaching Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner for the first time this fall. To prepare, I've spent the last few days gathering resources and thinking about how I might frame this story when I present it to students. I teach a tenth grade World Literatures course, where students study fiction, non-fiction, and creative texts from the non-western world. As we read the various texts, we hone in on perspective - What perspective does the narrator represent/present? What perspective do we as readers from particular backgrounds and with particular experiences bring to a text? What perspective do other readers and writers offer on this text? So in thinking about how I might bring this theme into our reading of The Kite Runner, I'm considering presenting the students the basics of literary criticism to help frame the reading of the text.

I've taught students literary criticism basics in the past. We've discussed the foundations of historical, formalist, feminist/gender studies, psychoanalytical, and reader response theories as a type of lens that a reader might don to help understand the particulars of a text. By teaching literary criticism as a lens, I have found it also helps students understand some related literary tropes and devices. In the past, students have completed a WebQuest activity to help introduce the various theories.

The Kite Runner could prove fruitful for this type of study. However, I worry that using this type of frame might reduce the story to nothing more than its devices and context. I suppose this is the danger when teaching literary criticism in general. I'd love your thoughts and feedback on anything I should consider as I work on this curriculum unit.

In the meantime, I thought I would share some of the resources that I found online that might help others as they consider teaching this text.


RESOURCES UPDATED MAY 2014
  • My Lesson Plan Materials
    Using many of the sources listed below, I created the linked lesson plans above that I use with my tenth grade English students.
  • Discussion Materials from Bucks County
    Kite Runner was selected as one of the "One Book, One Bucks County" project. This document includes a wealth of resources listed by grade-level.
  • Teaching Materials from Literary Cavalcade
    This document contains an excerpt from the novel, background information, and follow-up activities, including a narrative based on an incident in the reader's childhood.
  • Historical Materials from Amnesty International
    I want to thank the Human Rights Education Program at Amnesty International USA for this comprehensive guide to The Kite Runner film. I think they have done a terrific service to the students, and I am grateful to them for bringing to light the nuances and many complexities of Afghan society and Afghan life via this guide.
  • My Pinterest Collection for Teaching The Kite Runner
    In an effort to keep a current collection of resources for teaching The Kite Runner, I am using this Pinterest board to continually curate a contemporary collection of resources.
  • Study Guide for the Historical Background of The Kite Runner
    As the table of contents shows, this Study Guide is organized into sections corresponding to the requirements any teacher might consider - pre-, during and post-reading activities. One of the virtues of this novel is that it unequivocally places the reader inside the narrator's experience of the Pastun culture. At the same time, this quality may create barriers for younger readers. This guide includes writing and reading activities to familiarize students with the background, history, and culture of Afghanistan.
  • The Kite Runner Connects the English and History Classrooms
    "Promote Independent Thinking with The Kite Runner" is a curriculum unit that includes discussion questions and links to a WebQuests and unit plans.
  • Lessons shared on Teachers Pay Teachers
    Haven't used Teachers Pay Teachers before? Check it out! Registration is free. Teachers post lesson plans for just about anything you can think of, some for free, some for minimal cost. This is a link to all the lessons on the site for The Kite Runner.
  • The Kite Runner Summary at WikiSummaries
    Just found this. Apparently, WikiSummaries is similar to Sparknotes with chapter-by-chapter summaries.
  • "The Kite Runner" Banned In Afghanistan - CBS News
    The Afghan government banned the film more than a month ago because of a rape scene of a young boy and the ethnic tensions that the film highlights, said Din Mohammad Rashed Mubarez, the deputy minister of the Ministry of Information and Culture. Shops selling the movie would be closed, he said.
  • Teacher Handouts for The Kite Runner
    A final assessment for reading The Kite Runner. Use the links on the left side of the page to also access the teacher's materials for teaching this book.
  • My Prezi to Introduce The Kite Runner
    This is the Prezi that I put together to introduce the historical background of The Kite Runner.  Here is the video version of my introduction.
UPDATED: Here are some more background resources and even more curriculum planning materials.
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