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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Recognition, Differential Diagnosis and Long-Term Effects
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Authors:  Cindy Lovell
Whether reading for fun or reading for an assignment (like this chapter, no doubt), the first critical ingredient is interest. What is the student‘s motivation for reading? What is yours? Too often students – and teachers – dismiss Mark Twain as outdated or just another required book. This would be a mistake as those of us who have reread these works again and again can attest. But how can we take the sting out of yet another reading assignment of a 19th century novel? By not teaching it, perhaps? Yes and no.
As you know, the minute there is an assignment, many students go into survival mode and immediately begin wondering what will be on the test. Perhaps you are reading this chapter with a pencil in one hand so you can jot down the concepts you expect to meet again on a multiple-choice exam. (I hope not.) Believe it or not, I have never been ―taught‖ Twain, nor have I been tested on Twain. My fourth grade teacher generously read aloud the whitewashing chapter from Tom Sawyer, explained how that was just one chapter in a book, and that‘s all it took – I have been reading Twain ever since.
You, however, teach reading, or literature, or language arts, or some other subject area that requires grades in a grade book. I am not naďve. But, I am hopeful that you will consider the suggestions you find in this chapter that will lighten the burden of ―reading for a grade‖ versus ―reading for pleasure‖ from both you and your students. I assure you that they will gain tremendous amounts of vocabulary, engage in critical thinking and analytical discussion, and contemplate various perspectives as they try to rationalize, justify, and make sense of the new world they are discovering on the page. After all, isn‘t that what you really want? And yes, they will apply this knowledge and these skills to other areas, and they will never look back on the time they ―had‖ to read Mark Twain, but rather the time the were introduced to Mark Twain… in your classroom. 

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