Teaching ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by @kennypieper

Name: Kenny Pieper
Twitter name: @kennypieper
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Teacher of English
What is your advice about? Teaching ‘The Catcher in the Rye’

  1. Load them up with historical context before you start. Spend time discussing post-war America, the evolution of the teenager, right up to the day John Lennon died.
  2. Read the text with them, but only to the end of Chapter 7. Holden leaves school at that point, so send your class away to read the rest on their own; go through it afterwards.
  3. Make a consistent effort to link your readers to Holden Caulfield. Their empathy with him is what makes the book so effective.
  4. The book is filled with evocative symbolism; frame your study around the Hunting Hat, the Ducks, the Carrousel. When they get that, they get Holden, they get the book.
  5. I know anyone can read this book and all ages can access it. However, when you teach it to 15/16/17 year olds, going through the same changes as Holden, it hits home strongly.
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