Brown Girl Dreaming–a memoir-in-verse that reads like a novel, but with all the imagery of poetry–allows students many levels on which to engage.
This sample syllabus is broken into 4 units, each with a major writing assignment and specific writing emphases. (The final assignment is a revision portfolio that asks students to significantly revise an earlier piece.)
For more course planning samples, see:
A general syllabus templates for 16-week courses.
Readings: Brown Girl Dreaming, Part I: I Am Born (pp. 1- 41) and Part II: The Stories of South Carolina Run Like Rivers (pp. 43-138)
Writing Emphases: Reflection, Compare/Contrast, Summary, Reading & Annotating
Reflection Essay: Audience 3 Ways
Readings: Brown Girl Dreaming, Part III: Followed the Sky’s Mirrored Constellation to Freedom (pp. 141-203); Reading a Poem: 20 Strategies (The Atlantic, 2014).
Writing Emphases: Incorporating quotations; Summary; Synthesis; Reflection; Narration
Reading A Poem: 20 Strategies (Short Assignment Series)
Readings: Brown Girl Dreaming, Part IV: Deep in my Heart, I Do Believe (pp. 205-278); “Young Adult Literature: An Author Strikes the Genre by Steven VanderStaay (English Journal, 1992).
Writing Emphases: Argument; Quotation incorporation & summary; Ethos, Pathos, Logos; Reflection & Narration
Letter: Young People’s Literature
Readings: Brown Girl Dreaming, Part V: Ready to Change The World + Author’s Note (pp. 283-325)
Writing Emphasis: Revision
Assignment 4: Revision Portfolio. Students choose 1 or 2 assignments to revise, and compose a short revision narrative detailing their writing process and final revision successes.