Date Approved

2014

Date Posted

5-19-2014

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

English Language and Literature

First Advisor

Ramona Caponegro, PhD, Chair

Abstract

Historically, Young Adult (Y A) Literature has been overlooked in school curricula and as a literary genre. Yet in recent years, YA authors have produced creative and thought-provoking narratives incorporating social commentary and teachable themes fitting for secondary school classrooms across subject areas. One of YA literature's most salient features is its accessibility to young readers. Thus, YA texts such as Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games help engage students in the reading process and bridge them to more challenging texts, including traditional works in the English canon.

To demonstrate students' ability to engage with a YA story, I created a reader-response survey on The Hunger Games, addressing the novel's strong female protagonist, the love triangle, social commentary, and violence in the work. This thesis traces the development of the YA Literature genre from the 1960s through the present, discusses students' high level of engagement with The Hunger Games through the Reader-Response survey results, examines the multiple benefits of reading YA Literature, and justifies its implementation in secondary school classrooms, as a means of promoting disciplinary literacy as well as a meaningful tool for engaging students in reading in English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms.

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