YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2012/2013



Highlighted Strategy


Hot Seat
One of the strategies highlighted in this YAL Conference workshop is Hot Seat, a strategy developed by Dr. Jeffrey Wilhelm that helps students develop reading comprehension skills through role play. 

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He Forgot to Say Goodbye
by Benjamin Alire Saenz


YAL Presenter Unit 2012/2013

Subjects: English Literature
Grade Level: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Posted: 2012
Unit Created by: Mary Massie and David Stephens

What makes this a good YAL choice...

I chose He Forgot to Say Goodbye for several reasons. First, because I thought a lot of kids would relate to the situation of growing up without having both parents as a meaningful presence in their lives and losing a friend or relative to gangs and drugs. Also, Ben Saenz is Latino himself, as are many of the GEAR UP and Morton students, and Ben is an amazingly skillful writer, especially great at capturing the voices of young people. He made an author visit at Morton a couple of years ago, and the students who read his books really liked them, as the librarian reported, based on book club reactions. And the kids in the book, two boys and a girl, struggle with issues including the death of a sibling due to drugs and deeply disappointing behavior by parents, by encouraging each other and facing things with courage, despite their insecurities. And, the book is often hilarious, when it's not heartbreaking, and sometimes both at once! — Mary Massie


YAL Conference Workshop Description
Developing Communication Skills with He Forgot to Say Goodbye: The Things Our Fathers Left Unsaid
Mary Massie and David Stephens, Presenters

Ram and Jake live in very different El Paso communities, although their schools are side-by-side. Jake's mother and stepfather are wealthy, while Ram's divorced mom works long hours to support her sons. Abandoned by their fathers as young children, the boys struggle with anger and self-doubt in their own ways, as their journal entries recount with authenticity and humor. Friendships develop in the midst of heartbreak, as we root for these kids to make strong choices and take charge of their own destinies. This interactive workshop will demonstrate ways to use the characters and dialogue of a YA novel for classroom activities that develop Common Core level speaking, listening and writing skills. We will also consider ways to use this book in student or parent book clubs and programs to further social-emotional development. — Workshop Description for YAL 2012