2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Contextualizing and Demonstrating Relevancy of Literature through the Inclusion of Nonfiction 


Sarah E. Wappelhorst♦
Dr. Summer Pennell, Faculty Mentor

This study investigated how the inclusion of nonfiction in the secondary English classroom impacted students’ understanding of the context of the literature they were reading. The impact of the nonfiction on students’ beliefs in the relevancy of the literature was also studied. This research was conducted in a large Midwest suburban high school in an 11th grade Honors American Literature Course. Students read nonfiction to supplement the novels The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Beloved by Toni Morrison. After closely examining the data, three major case studies appeared: students whose understanding of the literature and relevancy increased, students whose understanding of the literature was somewhat increased and relevancy deepened, and students whose understanding was not impacted and relevancy somewhat increased. The data demonstrates that pairing current nonfiction with literature, particularly canonical texts, can lead to increased belief in the relevancy of the literature to students’ lives and modern America. 

Keywords: nonfiction, context of literature , relevancy of literature

Topic(s):English, Secondary MAE Research

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 401-4
Location: MG 1000
Time: 3:15

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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