What If My Students Have Already Read The Hunger Games

Yesterday I wrote a post about why I love teaching The Hunger Games and mentioned that one of the new challenges with this text is that many students have already read it – with the number of reluctant readers we have these days, this is truly a welcome problem.  If you have a class in which many or most of the students have already read The Hunger Games, you will have to make some changes to your approach, but you can still have a worthwhile, meaningful unit based on The Hunger Games.

Here are some suggestions for how to handle this challenge:

  1. Continue to use chapter questions and vocabulary.  Even though your students are already familiar with the story, chapter questions will remind them of exactly what happens.  It will be easy work for the kids who have read the story, but worth doing to keep events and issues fresh.  Vocabulary exercises are also still worthwhile – students may have read the book, but there is a good chance there are many words they didn’t really understand and didn’t bother to look up.
  2. Spend more time exploring issues and themes introduced in The Hunger Games.  There are many interesting directions you can take as part of your Hunger Games unit, and with a students who already know the story, you can spend more time on these tangents.  Ex. totalitarianism, exploitation, reality television, violence, survival stories, etc.
  3. Make more connections.  With the plot basically covered already, you can push your students to make more and deeper connections between The Hunger Games and other texts.  Look for other examples of dystopian literature and film that students can relate to The Hunger Games.
  4. Use more creative assignments.  Have your students demonstrate their understanding of the text and its issues and themes through creative assignments.  Students can draw, paint, sculpt, sing, and use other mediums to comment on the characters, events, and themes in The Hunger Games.
  5. Encourage your students to be critical.  With a class full of Hunger Games experts, you can push your students to be more critical of the writing, the characters, and the story.  You can also have them critique the film version and compare it to the novel.

It can actually be kind of nice to focus less on reading the text, and more on the creative, critical, and exploratory aspect of teaching a novel.  So don’t be too disappointed if your students have already read the book.

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This entry was posted on June 26, 2013 and is filed under Tips and Ideas. Written by: . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.