Reading Alice in Wonderland

My students like reading aloud in small groups, where they take turns reading from different types of texts or where they read the parts of a theater play. It is a challenge for me as a teacher to find texts that are of good quality, and which appeal to the students. In my choice I take into consideration if the text is likely to engage, if it is likely to be considered fun and interesting and if it has an educational value. My latest choice is Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland which I have used in year 7,8 and 9.

The foremost reason for my choice is the fact the Alice in Wonderland is very much “in the air” at the moment thanks to the release of a new film version of the story, where Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter. To this comes the excellent opportunity to introduce the youngsters to some wonderful reading. This is a book that most of them very unlikely would make their own choice, but which I have now experienced many of them really enjoyed.

Another good reason for choosing this book is the fact that is freely available on the internet as it is one of many, many classics which can be read online. A very important aspect here is that those students liking the story can easily continue reading it at their own leisure.

I think it is very important how a book is introduced to a group and it is important to evoke interest. The way I introduced it was, after having looked at the Wikipedia article on the book together with the students, to show clips from two film versions of the book; one from the 2010 release and one from 1903. Both found on YouTube. The contrast between the two versions is stunning and I am sure a good source for reflection on the fast development of technique within the last hundred years.

I started of by showing the older version.

And continued by showing the
official trailer for the 2010 movie version.

Sites where you can find free literature:
Project GutenbergA voluntary project to digitalize cultural works
redcloud.com – a site loaded with access to millions of classic and contemporary books that are out of copyright or creative commons licensed
Audio Owl – Audio books.
LoudLit.org where you can listen and read at the same time
Open Culture – Audio books
Newfiction.com – Exciting new stuff
Top 25 Free Audio-books Sites
Lit2Go
Books Should be Free

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