YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2012/2013



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by Mark Kurlansky


YAL Presenter Unit 2012/2013

Subjects: English Literature
Grade Level: 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Posted: 2012, CCSS, Common Core State Standards
Unit Created by: Sharon Hartrich, LaKisha Pittman and Karen Boran

What makes this a good YAL choice...

In our current society, teens and adults take so many things for granted, giving nary a thought to their origins. This eye-opening nonfiction text details the story of the one mineral needed for human and animal survival: salt. While the topic is fascinating, the text is challenging. Anyone preparing for college or careers will need to learn how to address very complex text in order to gain an understanding of the content. There is a companion text, The Story of Salt, also by Mark Kurlansky, written at a lower reading level that uses illustrations, maps and captioned pictures to also tell the story of the importance of salt throughout history. This second text can be used to scaffold understanding of the main text to support English Language Learners and struggling readers. Both books make this historical timeline accessible for all readers. In addition, 15 historically-based recipes are included. — Beverly Rowls


I’ve never thought much about salt; it’s just something cheap, white, grainy, and—well--salty that I shake on my food sometimes. But author Mark Kurlansky shows how this common crystal has influenced culture, trade, wars, and health since the earliest days of human existence. He traces the relationship of people and salt with intriguing detail in this engaging and satisfying exploration. History buffs, cooks, and people who eat will all enjoy Salt. Shaking the salt shaker will never be quite the same. — Christine Johnson


YAL Conference Workshop Description
Engagement with Text Complexity in Salt: A World History
Sharon Hartrich and Karen Boran, Presenters

"Take it with a grain of salt!" "Don't rub salt in the wounds." "She was the salt of the earth." Why is salt the focus of these idioms? In past generations, a society's survival depended on its access to salt, which was not readily available to all. George Washington and Napoleon discovered that salt was strategic in war and the Romans paid their soldiers salaries in the currency of salt. This eye-opening nonfiction text serves up a fantastic history that includes salt's role in shaping civilizations, engineering feats and religions, in addition to food and eating habits all over the world. Our interactive workshop explores how to deepen comprehension and increase engagement in this complex text using the Common Core State Standards to guide us. Reading, writing, speaking and listening activities and strategies will provide practice and preparation in implementing the Standards. — Workshop Description for YAL 2012