After showing the interview clip, tell students that Alexie narrates the process of becoming a reader in an essay originally published in a newspaper, The Los Angeles Times. The name of the essay is "Superman and Me." The link is to a printable version of the essay, which The Los Angeles Times has made available with permission.
Give each student a copy of the essay. ShermanAlexie--Superman.pdf
Since Alexie talks about how a comic book character influenced his reading life, it's appropriate to storyboard the essay in honor of its comic book tribute.
Next, introduce students to the concept of storyboarding. To do this, I show student four different templates from which they can choose and give them a handout of one. It really doesn't matter which template students use, but I like the ones w/ lines best because they give students a place to write more.
I explain to students that their favorite movies, songs, television shows, and even video games begin w/ storyboarding the concept. I also tell them that comic book writers also storyboard, and that they can use storyboarding as a way to plan their own writing and as a way to show their thinking about a writer's writing.
I give students a definition of a storyboard: "A storyboard is a visual organizer. It generally shows a series of illustrations displayed in sequential order. Collectively, this sequence of illustrations provide one a pre-visualizing of a video, a movie, a television show, a commercial, or presentation." Essentially, we can use a storyboard to plan our own text or to analyze a pre-existing text.
Next, I read the first paragraph of the essay and either model or ask students to create one or more visuals to accompany the text using their own paper, which is based on the storyboard template.
Then I have the student put his/her drawing on the overhead (or document reader if one is available).
I repeat the reading and student example for the second paragraph.
Students then have the opportunity to ask questions before working on their own.
I didn't know how to really get started on this assignment, and I'm horrible at writing, it's definetly my weakest subject, any feedback would be much appreciated.
This short story "The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and me" was written by Sherman Alexie and copyrighted in 1997. "The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and me" explains Alexie's life as an Indian boy and how writing and reading shaped his life into what it is today. This short essay talks about how he first learned how to read, His intelligence as a young Indian boy, and Alexie as an adult teaching creative writing to Indian kids.
In the first paragraph, Alexie explains that he first learned to read with a Superman comic book. But before he could read the comic, Alexie taught himself about paragraphs and how they relate to the real world. He thought of everything as paragraphs such as his reservation he lived on was a paragraph to the United Sates. Or his family as a essay of paragraphs, each family member being a paragraph. He taught himself how to read the text by looking at the pictures and dialogue and pretending to say aloud what he thinks the story might be saying. Alexie learned quickly while many of his Indian classmates struggled to read basic words and vocabulary.
"I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky." These were the words Alexie used in his story. Indian children were stereotypically supposed to fail in the classroom, and most did. Alexie was smart though and the Indians who weren't, ridiculed him. Those who failed were accepted, Those who excelled weren't. But Alexie loved to read. He read everything he possibly could, even if they weren't books.
Alexie visits schools to teach creative writing to Indian kids. Most of the children read his books and write their own. They want to learn and succeed, but there are some of the children who have already given up hope on themselves and sit in the back of the classrooms and don't care anything for reading and writing. In the Superman comic book Alexie first learns to read , Superman breaks down a door, This is what Alexie is trying to do with the kids who have already quit. He is trying to break down their locked doors and really get the children reading and writing.
This story explains the struggles Alexie and his Indian peers have trying to succeed in a non-Indian environment. Alexie looks past all the stereotypes and refuses to fail. He applies it to real world situations and excels in being a author.
I think Alexie explains vividly about how hard it was growing up as an Indian in a non-Indian world and how he looked past the fact he was Indian and succeeded in being a author. I learned a lot from Alexie and his story such as his methods of learning how to read, his "refusing to fail" attitude, and wanting to give back to the community.
I believe Alexie's reading methods are a great way to look at easy ways to teach young children how to read. He first learns the essay structure by comparing everything to paragraphs. I really believe that children will learn a lot better about essays if they learned the structure of a paper before reading or writing one. Then they wouldn't be so confused on what a paper should always look like. Then by understanding the text , he would look at the picture and guess what the person was saying or doing. I agree with this also but children should also first learn the letters and what they mean first before guessing the sentence.
Unlike many of the other Indian children, Alexie refused to fail in school. No child anywhere should give up at all and always have this kind of a attitude. The kids were expected to fail, but Alexie was one of the few to not live up to those expectations. Alexie read everything and everywhere he went. This is probably one of the reasons Alexie never failed in school, because he loved to learn, he wanted to be smart. Everyone should be saying things such as Alexie did like, "I refuse to fail. I am smart. I am arrogant. I am lucky."
As Alexie grew up he became a writer, Maybe he thought he should give back to the Indian children who weren't as lucky as him. He started to teach creative writing at Indian schools trying to help the struggling children. Many took advantage of the opportunity, but some didn't. Alexie doesn't give up on the children as they have already given up on themselves. He obviously cares and wants them to succeed as he has.
Alexie is a great author and teacher. I have a new perspective on how reading and writing affect our lives. After all, we are all just paragraphs in one big long essay.